The Present

By Michelle Lemme

Twelve weeks of Day Treatment and 8 weeks of Anxiety Clinic all come down to being mindful; actively participating and staying in the present. Sounds easy right? Not so much. Just ask anyone who lives with chronic anxiety, (anxious predictions lie in the future, not the present), depression, bipolar, OCD or any other mental health challenge. My prediction is that they would tell you that being mindful takes practice, dedication, and focus and that sometimes it is just plain hard work.

Don’t get me wrong, I get why “all roads lead to mindfulness“. When you are actively focused on the present, there quite literally is no room for those pesky, irksome “should haves”, “could haves”, and “what ifs” that can drag us back into the past or take us to some imagined crisis in the future.

Being mindful requires living with uncertainty (frankly, just typing the word causes my heart rate to accelerate). Personally, when the gnawing, nagging fear of uncertainty starts to take over, I do my best to quickly identify the thought, push it away, and then deal with it in my “worry” place (area reserved for worrying, where I challenge and then change the worry thought triggering [...] continue the story

Journal Entry

By Michelle Lemme

UGH, longest day ever in Day Treatment… I hate how I feel; fat, bloated, irritable, sad, exhausted (depression or menopause; doesn’t matter, the symptoms for both are almost identical), skin and everything else totally dried out, worrying non stop about everything and nothing until I want to scream STOP. Jeez, with all these amazing feelings how can I possibly NOT love myself (core belief=I’m unlovable). In any case Wednesday is the day we do Self-esteem, Depression and Worry (I am a star pupil in all classes, but these in particular, I really excel at).

Key learning in Self-esteem today? Apparently having a minimum of 10 “Rules to Live By” is a bit ambitious for someone like myself to take on and “challenge”. I need to get it together, focus and figure out which one or two rules are the most debilitating so I can damn well start to change my automatic thoughts. Such difficult work; honestly, overwhelmingly, mind numbing hard work and self-examination. Needs to be done or change is not possible. I need to control my thoughts, my thoughts can’t continue to control me (I’m exhausted just thinking about how difficult this will be for me to master).

The [...] continue the story

The Journey Continues

By Michelle Lemme

A major part of my journey back to mental health is “self care” which includes dragging myself to the hospital every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning to attend/participate in Day Treatment.  Wednesday’s tend to be the most draining, as we cover self-esteem, depression and anxiety. One thing I now know to be true is that you can be depressed and not have low self- esteem, however people who suffer from low self-esteem almost always suffer from depression.   I happen to be one of the unfortunate ones to have low self-esteem, depression and severe anxiety.

Honestly, if you were to meet me or ask anyone who knows me, to describe me, they would not use the words “low self-esteem“; which makes me feel all the more like an”impostor”, which, it turns out is one of the many aspects or types of anxiety that I suffer from. Needless to say, I am learning a great deal about myself.

At the heart of self-esteem lies the central bottom line or core beliefs that we have about ourselves. These are almost always deep-seated, basic, negative beliefs about ourselves and the kind of person we are.  These beliefs are the result of experiences in our lives, particularly those that occurred in early life. [...] continue the story

What is Major Depression?

By Michelle Lemme

Webster’s dictionary defines major depression as “a mood disorder having a clinical course involving one or more episodes of serious psychological depression lasting two or more weeks each with no intervening episodes of mania”.

I realized, only recently, that what happened in May (see blog archive) was, in fact, my fifth episode of major depression, this time with psychotic features. My first episode occurred when my girls were just 2 and 6 months old. My then and now ex-husband confessed to me that he had been having an affair, on and off, with his best friend’s wife for the better part of our 6 year marriage (wonderful news for my already low self esteem).  His confession came just as I was returning to work after having our second daughter and 2 years after I lost my father to cancer (while I was pregnant) at the young age of 60.  I felt completely alone, isolated and ashamed.  I was embarrassed and scared; I could see no way to survive outside of the marriage and so I stayed, despite ongoing and continuous “mental abuse” suffered at the hands of my narcissistic husband; I could see no financial way for me to leave him and take care of my young children. I stayed [...] continue the story

Into the Dark

By Michelle Lemme

Friends,

Thank you all for your positive thoughts and prayers during, what has been the most difficult period of my life.   I will do my utmost to provide you with an informative and accurate picture of what recently took place and where, in my journey, I am at the moment.  What I cannot do, is provide you with an accurate depiction of our lives with my 20 year old daughter (SA) for the better part of the last 7 years.

I was officially hospitalized on May 2nd, committed to the psychiatric ICU; I was admitted after having been brought to emergency, for the third time.  At that point, I was absolutely positive, in my mind, that my youngest daughter (LA) and husband were trying to kill me in an effort to cover up, that it was really LA who had done all of the really awful things that my oldest child had done herself and our family.

Believe me, I was unable to articulate any of this “crazy” thinking to my sobbing 18 year old child and loving husband.  Both of them just knew that I needed to go to the hospital.

We were still reeling when after a brief encounter with [...] continue the story