Saturday, October 3, 2015

Girls' Night Out

I know you've heard it before, but every woman needs girlfriends.  I don't care how old you get.  I don't care what stage of life you're in.  You need strong, independent, loving women in your life to share it with.

I have those women.  And I love them.

I had a great day yesterday.  I worked, I walked, I did the laundry, I got a workout in.  And I got to have dinner and watch a movie with three of my favorite people.  What a great way to end the day.

The plans were dinner and a movie.  We talked.  We laughed.  We ate.  We make up inside jokes as we go.  We laughed some more.  We laughed so hard, we get our ab workouts in.  We make fun of ourselves.  We make fun of each other.  We make fun of the people in our lives!  And we laugh.  We catch each other up and talk about when we're doing it again.

Then we went to see a movie.  Last night it was "The Intern".  And it was great!  I love going to a movie and laughing with everyone in the entire theater.  And that's just what we did.  You know what else I enjoyed?  The car time.  We are hilarious when we get going.  It was such a great time.

I can't wait until we do it again!

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Sun Is Rising

First of all, I'm feeling much better than I was last weekend.  I am once again depression-free.  Let's see how long I go this time.

I met with my counselor last weekend and he reminded me of all the things we've talked about in the last year, things I should be doing regularly to increase my chances of staying depression-free.  But I get complacent and stop doing them.  So I've created a schedule and put it on my refrigerator to remind me daily.  I need to be moving my body, challenging my mind, and focusing on taking better care of myself EVERY DAY.  So...

What I'm Reading
Fiction:  Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas (James Patterson)
Non-Fiction:  The Catholic Guide to Depression (Aaron Kheriaty, MD) How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again
Bible:  The New Testament from the Gospel of Matthew to Revelation.

I've read Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas before, but it was years ago.  It's an easy read and a sweet story.  As for the non-fiction... I have SEVERAL books that I've purchased in the last year or so and haven't taken the time to read them.  Now the time is scheduled on my calendar.  I'm also reading three chapters of the New Testament each day between now and the end of the calendar year.  I should be able to finish it by then.  Then I'll start on the Old Testament.  That'll take me a whole year!

How I'm Moving
Workout - Les Mills Combat 60-day schedule
Walking - three times per week

I love Les Mills Combat.  It's all punching and kicking.  Just over and over again, punching and kicking.  It makes me feel powerful.  But walking is probably the best workout for me right now as I'm so out of shape.  So three times a week, I'm going to get a significant walk in, at least two miles.

There are other things I've scheduled just because I've been slacking on doing them and it's affecting me negatively.

  • My journal - I want to journal daily, just vent the good and bad so I can mentally and emotionally move on.
  • A clean, organized, comfortable environment - I want to spend 15 - 30 minutes each day focusing on one room in my home, just to maintain a healthy environment without having to spend my entire weekend cleaning.
  • A Budget - I want to get back to a strict budget.  I read Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover" last December and want to get back to his suggestions for saving money and getting out of debt.
  • Writing - I want to write more often.  I used to write all the time, whether it was just a blog entry or the next chapter in my latest novel.  I miss the writing process and want to spend time on that again.  It'll be mentally challenging as well as creative.

I just want to be a better version of myself.  I want to follow my counselor's suggestions to focus on more positive things, healthier things.  And by doing these things -- moving my body, challenging my mind, and focusing on taking better care of myself -- I'll have a much better chance of fighting off depression before it takes over my life.  And if I do happen to slip into a depression, I'll have several positive options for distracting my mind.

That's my plan.  And I started yesterday.  (I usually wait until the first of something to start anything new.)  Yesterday, I successfully read three chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, read The Catholic Guide to Depression for 30 minutes, straightened my bedroom, and did Combat 30 (which kicked my butt).  Today, I'll take a walk after work, balance my budget, read three more chapters of the Gospel of Matthew, do the laundry, and get a Les Mills Combat workout in... all before having dinner with the girls tonight.  It's all good!

Now my next challenge is sticking with the plan even when I don't feel like it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's Still Depressing

There are lots of things I could say about depression, none of them all that positive.  One thing's for sure, it's unpredictable.  So I thought I was feeling better, and expecting to improve from there.  I was wrong.  I've been wrong a lot lately.

I felt much better Tuesday just talking to my counselor on the phone, knowing that I was getting my meds refilled.  I told him that he was a true life line for me.  The sound of his voice, the words he uses... it gave me a light at the end of this long, lonely tunnel.

But by Friday I was exhausted.  I was still recovering from the depressive episode.  And I was teaching ERP at the same time.  Faking it in front of a classroom was actually a good distraction.  But it's exhausting.  Being emotional is exhausting.  My counselor has told me that being emotional is five times more work on the mind and body than using the intellectual side of the brain.  I can vouch for that.  So when I got home from work Friday, I took a nap... for three hours.

Saturday, I was looking forward to my appointment with my counselor.  I was thinking of it as an emotional reboot.  He'd help me put things into perspective, remind me many times that this is temporary, and give me a positive take on things.  He'd also give me a list of things to do to help keep me in a more positive place.  Lucky for me, all of that was true.  He gave me homework.  And he wants to see me again next week.  I left feeling better and looking forward to feeling even better as the week went on.

I then had lunch with Jeff.  That went really well too.  I talked about a few things going on in my world.  He talked about a few things going on in his.  It was really nice getting together with him.  The only thing left on my schedule for the day was mass and dinner with the folks.  An emotionally successful Saturday.

Wrong!  Within minutes of walking into the church, I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally down.  I don't know why.  But I wanted to leave.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to cringe.  But I stayed.  And by the time I left, I could hardly fight back the tears.  I cancelled on my parents for dinner and came straight home and cocooned myself in my apartment and couldn't wait to just fall asleep.

So here I am on my Sunday.  I knew I needed to do my laundry, which I need to leave my apartment to do.  My counselor has told me many times that depression will make me feel like doing nothing, but to do something anyway.  So I got up and gathered the laundry and made my way to the laundromat.  It would have been okay had I been there all alone.  But I wasn't.  And even still, I was nearly okay until the screaming baby came in.  I'm not even going to tell you what I imagined doing to that small, unhappy child... or her mother!

Thankfully I'm home alone now.  I've had lunch and the laundry is done.  That in itself is a victory.  And I got to read some today.  I always say that any day where I got to read fiction was a good day.  And now I'm writing.  And in a little bit, I'm going to watch a football game.  Now if the Colts could just win one.  Maybe my day would feel worth it if my team actually won a football game.

How sad that I'm hanging the success of this day on whether or not 'the most disappointing team of the year so far' can win a football game.  Unfortunately, win or lose, my depression will still be with me.  And then I get to go back to work tomorrow... feeling like this.  It's so hard to look forward to anything.  That alone is depressing.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Fog Is Lifting

I'm happy to proclaim, the fog is lifting.  I'm still recovering, but I'm doing much-much better than I was Friday through Monday.  I called in sick Monday, but I've been working ever since.  In fact, I've been in front of a classroom.  And thankfully that has gone well.  It's been good to keep my mind off what I'm feeling and actually focus on something more productive.

It took me a week, but I finally got a hold of my counselor.  I think I have a bad phone number for his office in Evansville and apparently they don't check their messages in Washington as often as I'd like.  But by the grace of God, I was able to talk to him on the phone Tuesday.  Whereas I was mad as hell at him before the phone call, feeling ignored and abandoned, I felt oh-so-much-better after speaking with him for just ten minutes.  My meds have been refilled and I have a counseling session scheduled for Saturday in Evansville.

Good news on my meds too.  Instead of costing me the usual $1,070, they were only $508.  What a blessing.  So the week is turning out immensely better than it started.  Praise the Lord!

I hate it that I didn't make it four months depression-free.  But I'm ready to start my next stretch depression-free.  Here's hoping I can go another three months and 29 days.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I was wrong yesterday.

I am depressed.

Today would have been four months depression free.  I didn't make it.

I have a lot going on in my head, but mostly I blame this one on the job.

Calling in sick tomorrow.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Batten Down the Hatches

Let me first say, I'm not depressed.  I've been weepy nearly daily lately.  And I've outright cried a couple of times this past week.  But I'm not depressed.

I'M ANGRY.  And frustrated.  And a little bit sick and freakin' tired.  And did I mention ANGRY?

I'd just as soon avoid explaining why I feel the way I feel.  I could get myself into trouble if I outright express my real feelings.  And I can't deal with any more stressors right now.  You're just going to have to trust me when I say, I have a few things going on in my world that are getting to me a little too much.  Maybe a lot too much.

A good friend asked me last night how I was doing.  For most people, I would have just said, "fine" and moved on.  But I knew she cared and actually wanted a real answer.  Instead of words, she saw my eyes tear up.  I quickly told her that I've been doing really well, having not had a depressive day since May 19th.  But I wasn't doing well lately due to a few stressful situations in my life.

She quickly reminded me that if I didn't take care of myself, I'd be headed right back to a depression.

I know she's right.  If I don't nip this thing in the bud, I'll be facing my demons.  And I don't want to go there.  I'd do just about anything to avoid going back there.

So I'm battening down the hatches.  No one gets in; no one gets out.  I'm spending the weekend in recovery and spending a lot of time all by myself, which is better for me really.  I'm sleeping and reading and doing a couple of other things I'd just as soon not share on the world wide web.  But know that they're things that will help my situation, if only to make me feel like I'm making positive progress to being/staying emotionally healthy.

One stressor I will share with you... I've called my counselor's office three times in the last three days... and have received no return call.  Nothing.  I run out of meds in less than a week.  I feel like I'm on the edge emotionally.  I need to talk with my counselor and get my meds refilled and I can't get anyone to return my calls.  It not only upsets me, it scares me.

So I've issued a storm warning.  Hopefully the storm passes quickly.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mostly Sunny Skies

I've been good lately.  Mostly good.  But yesterday was a different story.  I wasn't depressed by any means.  But I was definitely weepy.  I don't like weepy.  Don't get me wrong, I'd rather be weepy than depressed any day.  But I didn't fully appreciate being all that weepy.  I cried probably five times yesterday.

When I'm weepy, I cry for no reason at all.  Or I cry for every reason I can think of.  I cried when Serena lost her tennis match.  This affects me in no way at all, but I was so sad for her.  Ugh!  When I'm weepy, I find every excuse to cry.

Lucky for me, today no tears.  I feel great!  I.FEEL.GREAT!  Thank You, Lord!

I have to admit, every day I am acutely aware of how I feel.  I analyze my feelings and reactions each and every day without fail.  Oftentimes before the sun even comes up.  It's probably not healthy.  But I don't think I could stop doing it even if I wanted to.  ...and sometimes I want to.  So when I say I've been depression free, I assure you, that statement has been fully vetted.

I often wonder if I'll ever graduate from this stage.  I wonder if a day will ever go by without me analyzing how I feel about things.  Today, I can't imagine what that would even look like.  But my counselor would probably tell me that I'll get there one day.  I can wait.  As long as I'm depression free between now and then, I can be patient.

And I can happily live with how things have been these last few months, mostly sunny skies.  Praise the Lord for answered prayers!