Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fight Song



I love this song.  And even though it doesn't speak to me all that much when I'm depressed, I try to listen to it first thing every morning.

"Fight Song" by Rachel Platten

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
but I can make an explosion

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep
Everybody's worried about me
In too deep
Say I'm in too deep
And it's been two years
I miss my home
But there's a fire burning in my bones
And I still believe
Yeah I still believe

And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
but I can make an explosion

This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Now I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Praying Through Depression

I've had this idea rolling around in my head for the last few weeks, that perhaps I could pray my way through depression.  But I have to tell you, it's hard.  No, it's not just hard, it seems impossible.

When I'm depressed -- and I don't mean just a bit down, blue, having a bad day -- but really depressed, I don't think I have faith.  That's a HUGE statement for me, as I normally consider myself a faith-filled person.  But the fact is, when I'm depressed, the Word of the Lord just seems like lowercase-w words... not promises, not hope, not God-breathed... just words.

So even though I pray often, I don't actually believe my prayers when I'm depressed.  And in fact, I usually say them through clenched teeth.

So it crossed my mind that when I'm good (aka, NOT depressed), I should write or find prayers that speak what I want to say when I AM depressed.  Moreover, I should find scriptures that get to the heart of what I want to pray when I'm depressed.  Then even if I don't believe them, because of the curtain of depression, at least I'm SAYING what I really want to convey to God when I pray, depressed or not.

Well... it crossed my mind over the weekend that perhaps a website or even a book already exists that meets that need.  So I Googled "praying through depression".  I found a website that really spoke to me, "The Mechanics of Faith, Hope - Faith - Prayer, Seek - Hear - Obey".  The page that come up was titled, "Scriptures Against Depression".  Before I even got to the bottom of the page, I clicked on a link about Abraham Lincoln and his bouts of depression.  (Let me tell you, the person who wrote that article for The Atlantic, hit on a lot of things that I think and feel.)  I also clicked on a link about how Depression Is a Spirit - It Must Be Fought with the Word of God.  That's exactly what I want to do!

So I'm doing just what I wanted to do, finding scripture and prayers that I can pray even when I'm depressed that will help me pray through depression.

One thing I read today that really hit a chord was that Lincoln's story was not one of transformation but of integration.  He had to integrate his depressive episodes into his life, dealing with them, working WITH them.  I have to say, this scares the will right out of me.  I don't know if I can do that. Sounds like the beginning of one of those prayers I need to write.

By the way, for those of you keeping score, I haven't had a depressive day since last Tuesday.  Praise be!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Peaceful Day

I found this graphic from Dr. Kou.com that explains things a little.


About a year ago, I was diagnosed as Bipolar II.  Prior to that, about fifteen years before that, I started being treated solely for depression.  I also feel like in the last couple of months, I've been experiencing rapid-cycling between depression and hypomania.

According to Dictionary.com

  • Depression - a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.
  • Euthymia - a pleasant state of mind.
  • Hypomania - a mania of low intensity
  • Mania - a type of affective disorder characterized by euphoric mood, excessive activity and talkativeness, impaired judgment, and sometimes psychotic symptoms, as grandiose delusions.


According to MedMD.com

  • Bipolar I - involves periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression
  • Bipolar II - is a milder form of mood elevation, involving milder episodes of hypomania that alternate with periods of severe depression
  • Cyclothymia - describes periods of hypomania with brief periods of depression that are not as extensive or long-lasting as seen in full depressive episodes
  • Rapid-cycling - a term that describes having four or more mood episodes within a 12-month period.  Episodes must last for some minimum number of days in order to be considered distinct episodes.  Some people also experience changes in polarity from high to low or vice-versa within a single week, or even within a single day -- the full symptom profile that defines distinct, separate episodes may not be present (for example, the person may not have a decreased need for sleep), making such "ultra-rapid" cycling a more controversial phenomenon.  Rapid cycling can occur at any time in the course of illness, although some researchers believe that it may be more common at later points in the lifetime duration of illness.  Women appear more likely than men to have rapid cycling.  A rapid-cycling pattern increases risk for severe depression and suicide attempts.

Today?  A peaceful day for me.  Thank God!

Monday, May 18, 2015

After the Storm

I thought maybe after crashing on Friday, I'd have it out of my system for the week and perhaps my Sunday would be stress free.  Nice thought.  Didn't happen that way.

I had a painful crash yesterday.  My counselor told me to plan something for yesterday that would take my mind off things and give me a better chance of staying in a positive head space.  But once I was in the throws of a depressive episode, I wouldn't have gone though with any plans I'd made... not that I made any.

Yesterday was traumatic, worse than the last couple of Sundays.  But unlike the last couple of weeks, I'm doing much better on this Monday.  I find myself being very cautious with my words and actions.  I don't want to misrepresent my emotional status today.  And I don't want to jinx myself into another bad Monday.  So although I'm not treading on solid ground, I'm doing much better than expected, MUCH better than yesterday, and better than the previous two Mondays.

I don't know how those chemicals in my head can be so out of whack on Friday (and get there so fast), be perfectly fine on Saturday, be at their worst on Sunday, and already be in the healing process on Monday.  The fact is, I NEVER know where my head is going to be.  And even though my counselor says that I have control over what's going on in my head, I just don't believe it.  In fact, he told me last week that I create the anxiety in my head.  So another reason to beat myself up... it's all my fault!  Not helping.

He's told me MANY, MANY times in the past that my emotional stability will be affected by what I eat, think, say, how much sleep I get, how much exercise I get, and what/who I surround myself with.  But I assure you, I did nothing between yesterday and today... except sleep 4 1/2 hours... to help myself feel better today.  I did nothing between Friday and Saturday to make myself feel better... except maybe leaving the office.

I think it's luck.  Flat out luck.  Sometimes I get lucky and everything in my head is working well.  And sometimes I don't, and everything in my head is a hurricane.  I wish I had control of it.  I wish even my $903 worth of meds every month had control of it.  But I think it's luck.

But just like navigating the water puddles after a storm, I'm making it through my Monday without tears, without anxiety, and without much depression at all.  And I thank God for the blessing.

Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."  Luke 9:23

Friday, May 15, 2015

Twister

I've been doing mostly better the last few weeks.  I was finding that for about 24 hours after talking with my counselor for an hour, I was pretty emotional.  I figure I was still processing some of the topics we discussed.  The last two weeks, I've noticed that I have a really flat, anti-social, blah Sunday followed by a really bad Monday in the office.  I chalked it up to things being stressful at work and not wanting to deal with all that.

But today I went in to work with a list of things I wanted to accomplish, knowing that things should be fairly quiet as only two of the five of us would be in the office.  Things started out just fine.  But by 10:30, I totally crashed.  Totally.  I couldn't stay another minute.  I couldn't deal with another person.  I can honestly say, I was ready to quit.  QUIT MY JOB!  Some little voice in my head was telling me what a bad idea THAT was.  So I knew I needed to get out of there before I did or said something I couldn't take back.

Now I'm home.  I cried it out.  I got something to eat.  And now I'm ready to get back to work.  All by myself.  In my living room.  I'm going to put in a movie I've seen a million times, just for some background noise.  I'm going to charge my Blackberry, in case someone needs to get in touch with me.  And I'm going to process three surveys and type up a good description of our Vendor Selection tool, including references from the FAR.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gusty Winds

...the kind that blow you over.

I had a revelation this morning.  And it hit me hard.  HARD!

I think I might have figured out the source of my depression... or at least my feelings of never being good enough, which feed my depression.   But after being upset initially, I'm feeling a little more relieved this afternoon.

I'm looking forward to sharing my latest thoughts with my counselor tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Chance of Sunshine

So I've been struggling with my depression again, since the beginning of March actually.  It's all relative as to what 'struggling' means.  I've definitely been worse.  I've definitely been better.  Luckily, I can handle where I am today.

I have an appointment with my counselor today.  I'm pretty sure he was worried about me after seeing me last week.  It was the first time he'd seen me bad since at least November.  I've had bad days since then, but not while sitting in his office.  So I'm curious... no, anxious... to see what today's appointment holds.

The fact is, I feel much better than I did last week.  But I have no confidence that I'll always feel this much better.  In fact, I KNOW I'll be down again.  It's just a matter of time.  It's always happened before... I get down, I get back up, I get down again.  Sure, expecting it may just be a self-fulfilling prophecy.  But I rationalize that it'll be easier to deal with if I expect it in the first place.

In the past, I've described my mental health as being a circle.  Sometimes I'm feeling good at the top of the circle.  Sometimes I'm feeling horrible at the bottom of the circle.  And just as a circle goes, every time I'm at the bottom, I eventually climb back to the top.  But as my counselor has pointed out, it also means I'm already planning to get back to the bottom.

He'd prefer that I think of my walk through depression as being on a path.  He insists that the decisions that I make about sleep, diet, exercise, what I read, what I say to myself, etc., help establish the path that my emotions will take.  As long as I continue to make positive decisions, my mental health will take positive turns.  I don't know if I believe it.  I want to.  But I also want guarantees.  I want to know that if I get eight hours of sleep every night for a week, I'll be mentally healthy.  I want assurance that if I make the time to walk a mile every day and eat a healthy diet, that I can count on a healthy mental outlook.

But guess what, my friends... there are no guarantees in this game.  I can do it all right... I can walk every day... I can eat a perfect Mediterranean Diet... I can sleep eight hours every night... I can read the most inspirational self-help books along side my bible... I can generate the most positive self-talk and repeat affirmations to myself every day... and all the while be taking my meds... and then still crash emotionally for who knows how long... and for no apparent reason at all.  It's just so discouraging.

The day after my appointment with my counselor last week, I met with the psychiatrist.  She'd talked with my counselor the night before... and they decided my issues were likely chemical, rather than situational.  So, she upped my meds and put me back on a couple that I thought I'd graduated from.  Today, I'm taking 120mg of Fetzima, 20mg of Latuda, and .5mg of Xanax.  I've taken every dosage that Fetzima offers.  I've been on and off Latuda over the last nine months, but I'd been off of it for the last six weeks.  And I'd been off Xanax since September.

So right now, I'm feel like I'm taking a full range of meds (an anti-depressant, a mood stabilizer, and an anti-anxiety pill).  And today, I feel much better than I did a week ago.  But I've lost some of the hope that I used to have about maybe feeling completely better one day.

What I think I need to focus on is just dealing with the ups and downs better.  Instead of letting it bother me so much when I get down, I need to learn to cope, to survive, to keep moving forward anyway.  I'm not very good at that.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  If I'm down, everyone knows it.  And it affects decisions that I make and how I react to things.  And geez, the self-loathing is almost unbearable.  I try telling myself that eventually I'll be positive again.  It's usually just a matter of time. Unfortunately, there's just no knowing how much time.  And that in itself is frustrating.  The whole not knowing part is just frustrating.

But today, even though my overall attitude is a bit flat, I'm more up than down.  I'm being productive and successful.  I can talk.  I can even sing.  Just don't ask me how I'm doing... or I might tell you.