Monday, November 30, 2015

Dueling Doctors

So not all has been serene in my world in the last week.  I've been fighting some moodiness and inability to get to sleep, but mostly I've been fighting my doctors.  Actually, I've been the go-between as they fight with each other.  They probably wouldn't call it that, but that's what it looks like from my vantage point.

The calcium blocker, Diltiazem 180mg, that the cardiologist prescribed has a bad interaction with the Latuda 60mg that the psychiatrist prescribed.  The psychiatrist would prefer that I not take the Diltiazem at all.  The cardiologist says I can take both, but I should score the Latuda.  The psychiatrist didn't appreciate the cardiologist adjusting her prescription.  I'm sure the cardiologist doesn't appreciate someone second-guessing his orders.

Apparently the Diltiazem can make the Latuda stay in my system longer, making it like I could be taking 100% greater dosage.  So the cardiologist says to just score it, take half.  But Latuda can't be scored.  Not to mention, there would be no guarantee that the 30mg of Latuda would be kept in my system twice as long, making it like 60mg.  Without a lot of blood work and testing, there's no way to know how long the Diltiazem is keeping what amount of Latuda in my system.

And since I'm much more concerned with my depression than my heart, I've been following my psychiatrists advice of not taking the Diltiazem.  So I've had it for a week and I've taken it once.  I'm sure the cardiologist would not be pleased.  I tried to call him a couple of times last week, but they were off for the holiday.

Today I called the cardiologist's office to tell him the following:

  • Latuda can't be scored, so that's not a solution I can use.
  • There is no 30mg dosage of Latuda, so I can't get to half of what I need to be taking.
  • I've been working too hard with my psychiatrist to manage my depression and my anti-depressants to go backwards.
  • I haven't taken my Diltiazem in a week.
  • The psychiatrist thinks a beta blocker would work better with the Latuda than a calcium blocker.  Can we maybe try that?
  • If you have further questions about any of that, call my psychiatrist.
I'm tired of being in the middle of their little spat.  I wish they'd come up with an appropriate plan of action and just let me know what the answer is.  I don't think I should have to keep passing on messages that start with, "but the psychiatrist thinks..." or "but the cardiologist says...".  Let them have those conversations on the phone without me.

They're causing me stress... which is probably adversely affecting both my depression AND my heart rate.

We'll see if I get a call back and if they're willing to talk to each other.  I sure hope so.  The psychiatrist is calling me tonight.  And I want her to start the conversation with, "well I spoke with the cardiologist...".

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Latest

First thing's first.  I was depressed from last Wednesday (the 18th) through yesterday (the 23rd).  But I feel GREAT today.  I was depressed through lots of work, an appointment with my psychiatrist, and an appointment with the cardiologist.  Good times [sarcasm].  But I'm encouraged that my depression only lasted six days.

So my appointment with my psychiatrist didn't go great.  I must first concede, she didn't get on my nerves nearly as much as she has in the past.  Maybe I was too depressed to care.  Maybe she was treating me with kid gloves because I was so obviously down.  And I know it's her job to determine when I should be admitted.  But discussing suicide with someone who is already depressed is not uplifting, needless to say. So I didn't even remotely enjoy the time spent with her.  Nothing new there.

Before I left, I talked with my counselor, who seemed a little concerned with how I was doing.  So he wants us to get together Wednesday.  But I'm feeling MUCH, MUCH better, so that appointment will go well.  Sometimes when I'm not feeling good, I don't look forward to my appointments with my counselor.  Actually that's not true.  ALL THE TIME when I'm not feeling well, I don't look forward to appointments with my counselor.  So I'm no longer dreading this appointment.  Bring it on!  He'll remind me of things I should say to myself when I'm down.  He'll teach me another trick or two to try to get my mind out of that bad head space.  I expect it'll be productive and well-spent.

My appointment with the cardiologist went very well.  He says that my heart is in GREAT shape.  Yea, me!  He also asked me if I was working out.  I told him that my primary care provider had me scared to death to raise my heart rate any higher and suggested that I walk without breaking a sweat.  The cardiologist told me to start working out 30 minutes a day.  So I need to do that.  (This eating 350 calories right before bed to accommodate the Latuda is quickly making me gain weight.)

He was well aware that I was depressed yesterday.  I told him that my psychiatrist has been mucking with my anti-depressants in an effort to get my heart rate to drop.  He wanted to make sure I knew that he never suggested to anyone that my anti-depressants were the culprit.  I assured him that my primary care provider championed that cause and my psychiatrist was more than happy to jump on board.  To help quell the continued science experiment, he suggested that I take a calcium blocker to lower both my heart rate and blood pressure.  I started taking that last night.  I'll follow-up with his nurse practitioner in a month to see if that works.

In the interim, I need to call my primary care provider to see if he wants me to stop taking the pill he put me on a year ago, to help lower my blood pressure.  There's really no need at this point for me to be taking two.  So I need to make that call.

Work has been busier lately.  But depression or not, I've been able to keep up.  Praise the Lord!

No day is better in my world than the day after a depression passes.  "This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  Psalm 118:24

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Just an update...

I know it's been awhile since I've provided an update.  My picture today, chance of sunshine.

First of all, I've still heard nothing concerning my echocardiogram.  Maybe I should call them and simply ask.  But between my other appointments, I'm doctored out.  I figure if it was bad news, I would have heard about it already.  I can wait until the 23rd.  Honestly, I'm trying not to take any of this all that seriously.  It helps me to NOT stress over it.

I made an appointment with my primary care provider's office last Monday (the 2nd) to get my blood pressure and heart rate measured.  Yes, I had to make an appointment.  I'll never do that again.  I'm not going to call the office for more than an hour just to get through, wait in the lobby for 15 minutes, and pay for an appointment, just for a two minute task of getting my blood pressure and heart rate.  Not when I can do it myself.  At any rate, my blood pressure was perfectly acceptable at 117/77.  And my heart rate was still a whopping 103.

My psychiatrist called me three times last week.  One of those conversations took well over an hour.  But I'm not going to vent about that.  One thing I learned though was that I've been taking my Latuda wrong for more than a year.  It says to take it with food.  I do.  But normally medications tell you that to prevent an upset stomach.  I only need a boiled egg or a handful of crackers to avoid any upset stomach and I've never had an upset stomach with my Latuda... so I thought I was doing things perfectly fine.  But no.  When they say take it with food, they mean 350 calories!  Who eats 350 calories at bedtime?!  But at Robin's suggestion, I'm drinking an Ensure Plus with my Latuda every night.  This is going to kill my diet!

As for my moods... I found myself being both angry and weepy last weekend (the 30th - 2nd).  But I've been mostly good since then.  Who knows if it was the increase in calories with my Latuda or not.  But I feel good.  No complaints.

My psychiatrist is going to call me again tonight.  Hopefully we don't have another marathon call.  I'll tell her I've been taking my Latuda with food and that I've been feeling well, and that my heart rate is still averaging over 100bpm.  My guess is that she'll take me off the Fetzima completely.  The only thing I don't know is whether or not she'll increase my Latuda to 60mg.  My guess is that she won't until next week.

Bottom line, I still feel like a science experiment, and I'm still scared of my next crash.  I've credited the medication for making my depressive episodes farther apart and shorter in duration.  But I'm trying to enjoy the current feelings of being good.  No sign of depression today.

But I have been thinking... what if I come completely off the Fetzima and my heart rate STILL doesn't come down?  The assumptions that were made about my medications will be wrong and we still won't know where the actual problem is.  Ugh!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

After the echo and a counseling session...

A couple of days have gone by since my echo and counseling session.  Just know that I'm not nearly as upset as I was on Tuesday.  Really, truly.  So you're going to get a watered down version of events.

First of all, the echocardiogram.  I'd never done that before and didn't really know what to expect.  I had to get undressed from the waist up and lay on a bed while covered with a towel.  All the while the radiology technician pressed a hand-held wand against my chest looking at various angles of my heart.

My responsibilities were fairly easy.  Once I had to move my left arm.  Once I had to move from lying on my left side to lying flat on my back.  Otherwise, I just kept up my end of the conversation.

I got to hear the blood flow through my heart.  I got to hear my heart beat... and I can verify that it is fast.  I also got to see the occasional picture of my heart... though I couldn't have told you it was my heart.  But if there was ever any question as to whether or not I actually HAVE a heart, the verdict is, I do.

My primary question was when I might expect to hear the results.  The tech said that it might not be until my follow-up appointment, which in this case is four weeks away.  I guess if I have to wait that long, it's only good news.  If there's bad news, I'm sure I'll hear from them sooner.  I've heard nothing as of this blog.

As for my counseling session.  I didn't request the appointment, my counselor did.  I simply agreed to show up.  I assumed that he knew this process of changing my meds this quickly would be stressful and he wanted to offer emotional support.  The appointment didn't really go that way though.

So I started off with telling him that I'm going to miss the warm fuzzy I felt with Dr. Callaghan, because I didn't feel that with Dr. Woodward, that she was much more clinical, much more mechanical than I'm used to.  Whereas I fell in love with Dr. Callaghan the first time I met her, the same wasn't true of Dr. Woodward.  (Between you and me, I don't care if I never see Dr. Woodward again and I'm truly going to miss Dr. Callaghan.  Just sayin'.)

I told him that I was nervous about changing my meds twice in ten days.  I told him I felt like a science experiment last year, trying to figure out what dosage of medicine I should be taking.  And here we are doing it again this year.  And since my meds just got upped to 120mg in March, I felt like that's probably the dosage I needed in order to avoid emotional crashes.

Ultimately, Robin told me that all patients are science experiments, that this is nothing new.  He told me that every doctor is going to treat the physical symptoms before the emotional ones.  He didn't seem to understand my real fear.  I also think that everyone is concerned about my heart and NO ONE (but me apparently) is concerned about my depression.  I'm paying a lot of money and spending a lot of time and energy on mental health care... yet I don't feel like I have an advocate for my depression, for my fear of the next crash.  I feel like they're okay with me just crashing again.  And I can't get anyone to hear that I'm NOT okay with that plan.

By the time I left, I realized that it doesn't matter what I think.  It doesn't matter what I feel.  It doesn't matter what I expect.  It just doesn't matter.  Even though I'm the patient and I have concerns.  Even though I'm the one spending the money.  Even though I feel like I'm screaming at the top of my lungs that this process scares me.  It doesn't matter.

And so what?  What difference does it make if they 'hear' me or not?  What difference does it make if they don't care?  I should just keep doing what they say and let the chips fall where they may.  I should trust the process, trust the professionals... even if they don't listen to their patients, which I don't find all that professional.  What's the worst that can happen?  A crash.  I've survived them EVERY.TIME.BEFORE.  I'm not looking forward to it.  But what difference does it make what I am and what I am not looking forward to.  None of my doctors are all that concerned.  So maybe I shouldn't be either.

So my Fetzima, which is assumed to be the culprit of my high heart rate, was reduced by 40mg on October 16th, nearly two weeks ago.  It was reduced by an additional 40mg again on Tuesday the 27th, only two days ago.  So far, there is no change in my heart rate.  When I took my blood pressure and heart rate last night, my heart rate was at 100bpm.

The next action item is for me to stop by my doctor's office on Monday to have my heart rate officially done by a professional and report it back to my psychiatrist.  If my heart rate is still high, I'm pretty sure I can count on buying yet another smaller dosage of Fetzima.  Yea.  [sarcasm]

Sunday, October 25, 2015

After seeing my new psychiatrist...

I don't think I like her.  And I hate that because she obviously wants to be much more involved in my treatment plan than my previous psychiatrist was.  After spending a grueling two hours with her yesterday...two hours that I didn't even remotely enjoy, she insisted on calling and talking to me for the first 20 minutes of the Colts game today.

She's already given me bad news.  She wants to change my meds again.  That will be the second time in ten days that my anti-depressants have been adjusted.

I spent the better part of last year being a science experiment for Dr. Callaghan, changing medications regularly, trying different combinations to try to get me to an even keel.  And at times it was painful.  I even spent a month on short-term disability due to the affects.  Obviously Dr. Woodward wants to do that same thing this year.  Not only is it expensive, it's scary as hell.

Dr. Callaghan reduced my Fetzima from 120mg to 80mg and increased my Latuda from 20mg to 40mg last week.  That happened a week ago Thursday.  I've been on those meds for less than ten days.  My new psychiatrist says that I should have already seen a change in my heart rate.  And obviously I haven't.  So she wants to change my meds again, lowering the Fetzima to 40mg.  So even though I already spent money on Latuda once this month and Fetzima twice this month, I get to spend more on Fetzima yet again.

Last year, I was on every dosage that Fetzima offers along with Latuda.  So I have absolutely no faith that taking 80mg less of the Fetzima will maintain any emotional stability for me.  But by Tuesday, we'll be trying it again.  She says that I should see a difference in my heart rate by the weekend.  She's going to call me next Monday to find out.  I can't wait. [sarcasm]

Also, she keeps telling me to let her know if I have any signs of 'discontinuation syndrome', which will feel like flu symptoms and last 3-5 days.  I'm not the least bit worried about freakin' flu symptoms that will last a few days.  I'm much more concerned about hitting another long depressive episode.  I can live with the damn flu!

She already told me to calm down and not take this as bad news, that I'd be bringing on a depressive episode with just my thoughts.  Great to know that my next depressive episode is already my fault.

I know this is blunt, but I'm going to say it anyway because this is how I feel today.  Being dead sounds much more appealing than being depressed.  Depression sucks more than any other feeling I've ever known EVER.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

After seeing the cardiologist...

So I saw a cardiologist for the first time in my life on Monday.  His name is Dr. Leonard and he's treated my dad before.  I really liked him.  He was kind and answered all of my questions.  And in return I was able to answer all of his questions.

He listened to my heart and my lungs.  We talked about my blood pressure being up to 142/100 that day, as well as my heart rate being 100bpm.  He didn't like either of those numbers.

We talked about what Dr. Potts (my primary care provider) said and what Dr. Callaghan (my old psychiatrist) said.  We talked about the fact that my anti-depressant medications have already been adjusted and how that might be enough to make a difference in my heart rate... though not yet.

He wants to see if any damage has already been done to my heart, so he ordered an echocardiogram for next Tuesday.  Otherwise, he's okay with waiting another four weeks to see if this medication change is enough to bring down my heart rate to something more reasonable.  If not, he mentioned adding a beta blocker to my regimen.  Dr. Potts had negative things to say about that option, as apparently they don't mix well with other medications.  But we'll see how everything turns out.

Ultimately, if the echo doesn't show any heart damage, we're pretty much just looking for anti-depressant meds that will allow my heart rate to be lower and I won't likely have my own cardiologist.  If the echo DOES show heart damage, I'll have a couple/few more appointments with my new cardiologist.  Dr. Leonard doesn't think there's much chance in there being any damage though.  I found that to be a positive outcome to that appointment.

So let's all pray together that the adjustment in my anti-depressants brings my heart rate down to something more reasonable while still managing any depressive tendencies.  Amen.

Friday, October 16, 2015

After seeing the psychiatrist...

I met with Dr. Callaghan yesterday afternoon.  She too is convinced that my Fetzima in particular is causing the high heart rate.  She too was surprised to hear that my heart rate is averaging over 100bpm.  She said that Dr. Potts (my primary care provider) was adamant with her that she see me right away.

So she got me in.  It was great seeing her.  She supports patients at Transitions through the Daviess Community Hospital.  The good news for me is that she knows my new psychiatrist, Dr. Tracy Woodward and even introduced her to my counselor, Robin Maglinger.  So she's going to ensure that a copy of our record gets to both Dr. Potts and Dr. Woodward.  (I was a little concerned about meeting with Dr. Callaghan when I'm supposed to meet with Dr. Woodward any time now.  I kind of felt like I was cheating on Maglinger Behavior Health Services.  But there was no need for that concern.)

So, Dr. Callaghan completely agreed with Dr. Potts that we need to make a change to the medications controlling my bipolar II.  Thankfully she didn't suggest changing the meds.  That was NOT pleasant the last time I had to go through that kind of transition.  But she did suggest decreasing the Fetzima from 120mg to 80mg and increasing the Latuda from 20mg to 40mg.  Hopefully that allows my heart rate to come down to something more reasonable, while still managing my depressive episodes.

I'm a little nervous.  But I've got good doctors who care.  So I keep reminding myself to trust the process.

I wonder if my heart rate could drop as fast as three days.  I see the cardiologist on Monday.  Wouldn't it be great if he sees marked improvement and doesn't require me to visit with him regularly.  One can only hope.

The fact is, I don't deal with stressors all that well and I'd just as soon not have this one.  But I'll know more after meeting with him on Monday.  I'll let you know!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Old Ticker

So I know I talk/write about my challenges with depression regularly.  But it's not the only health concern I have.

I've been taking medication for high blood pressure for a couple of years now.  And its done it's job perfectly.  But lately I've had issues with an elevated heart rate.

It was brought to my attention on August 13th when my heart rate was too high to donate blood.  It was up to 118 that day.

So I started recording my blood pressure and heart rate shortly thereafter.  I have a cuff that fits around my left wrist and makes it easy for me to use.  My heart rate for the last (nearly) two months has averaged 102.6.

Do you know what they call a heart rate that's hit 100bpm?  Tachycardia.  I'm pretty sure I've only heard that word on shows like "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy".  Well I guess it could be used to describe my heart rate.

I'm sure it's related to my bad fitness level and the fact that I'm grossly overweight.  And I'm sure that's where my doctor will start my treatment plan... as well he should.  That doesn't mean I'm looking forward to it.  It's definitely not something I can fix overnight.

I was encouraged to make an appointment with my family doctor by my gynecologist who I saw Monday morning.  My blood pressure and heart rate were high at that appointment.  He asked what my primary care provider was doing about it.  I told him that I hadn't yet told him about the racing heart rate.  He suggested that I do so... and soon.

So I had an appointment this morning.  I ended up being there for two hours.  His primary concern was that it might be my anti-depressants.  And sure enough, after doing a bit of research, he was convinced.  But just to be on the safe side, we did blood work and an EKG.

He didn't like the T-waves on my EKG, saying that they could lead to an arrhythmia.  I've already received my initial blood work results.  I had six indicators that were out of normal range.  But I don't know how concerning they are.  All I really know is I have an appointment with the psychiatrist tomorrow to discuss possibly changing or adjusting my meds.  And I have an appointment on Monday with a cardiologist.

So I'll know more in a week.  I'm looking forward to seeing Dr. Callaghan tomorrow.  She's a great psychiatrist.  But I'm a little nervous about mucking with my meds.  Right now, my depressive episodes are farther apart and don't last as long.  And transitioning from one set of meds to another was fairly painful the last time I had to do it.  But my primary care provider is convinced that my problem is being caused by my meds.  He just wants the psychiatrist and cardiologist to weigh in with any concerns.  So like I said, we'll know more in a week.

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!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Overcast - Chance of Rain

So I was on vacation last week.  I didn't necessarily have anything specific to do or anywhere exciting to go.  I just knew I'd been working long days and thought a break would do me good.  I felt I'd earned it.

And I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I slept in a lot.  I read a whole book in five days.  I did some housework that I'd been wanting to get done.  I spent a couple of days in Evansville with a few family members.  I even ate an amazing Italian lunch at Biaggi's.  I wouldn't have changed a thing.  It was lovely!

But I was truly hoping to completely refresh and renew my frame of mind in coming back to the office.  My plan was to have a whole new outlook and attitude with respect to work.

The fact is, I'm not at all dealing well with the dichotomy between what I hoped for and reality.  I've been so frustrated and angry these last two days that I could cry.  I've seriously been on the brink of tears several times.

It's not that anything at work is any worse than it's ever been.  I'm more saddened by my inability to deal with things better.  Moreover, I was hoping to OVERCOME the feelings of frustration.  I mean, I'd just come off vacation for heaven's sake.  I should have a whole new energy to side step the petty little things (and not so petty things) that bothered me before.  But I don't have that energy.  I'm not overcoming anything.  I'm obviously worked up.

You want to know something else?  (I'm assuming you said yes to that question.)  I've had an issue lately with my heart rate being really high.  When I went to give blood on the 13th of August, I was turned away because my initial heart rate was at 118 beats per minute and it only went down to 104 beats per minute after a ten minute focus on relaxing.  I've since been keeping track of my blood pressure and heart rate.  The lowest my heart rate has been in the last two weeks is 88, but it's averaged 102.

Since my depression has been so much better, I'm wondering if my mind, body, and soul are simply dealing with stress in a different way.  No more depressive episodes, but an over-worked heart.

I should also add that I take a medication for high blood pressure.  I've had an elevated BP a few times, but mostly it's good.  Strangely, the higher my BP is, the better my heart rate is.  (Or maybe that's not strange to someone who knows what that means.  But it was strange to me.  I expected them both to be bad equally.)

Anyway, so my weather/mood today is overcast with a chance of rain.  But I'm pretty sure I'm causing my own adverse weather (see picture above).  Here's hoping for sunshinier days ahead.

By the way, I was able to successfully give blood this past Friday, the 28th.  My heart rate was only 96 beats per minute.  So I got that in for the quarter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Three Whole Months

I've been depression free for three whole months.


I can't remember the last time I went this long without a depressive episode.  I was tempted to say that I've almost forgotten what a depressive day feels like.  But I haven't forgotten.  I doubt that I'll ever forget.  I totally remember.  I have an excellent memory.  But even remembering doesn't bring on the depression.

I scoured the internet for the perfect beautiful sunshiny blue sky picture to represent my current state of positive mental health.  I decided to go with the beach this time.  Just sounds so nice, doesn't it?

Things have been crazy busy at work.  I'm the data call queen.  I manage one database and have access to a few more.  When someone, anyone really, wants answers to questions, they call on me.  I call on the data.  Well, there have been A LOT of questions lately.

And I provide answers.  And then there are inevitably more questions.  It never ends really.  So I've been busy.

But next week, I'm taking a vacation.  Mostly I'm going to sleep in and walk and read.  But I'm also planning to be out of town for a couple of days.  Nothing amazing.  Just time off.  I think I've earned it.  And I'm gonna enjoy it.

Lord, I'm looking forward to yet another month of depression-free bliss.  Thank You in advance for the gift!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Month, New Challenge

So I'm reading "Do Over" by Jon Acuff.  But as I walked three miles this morning, I listened to another Jon Acuff book, "Start".  I love the subtitles of this book... "Punch fear in the face.  Escape average.  Do work that matters."  I only walked for an hour, but I listened to the first two chapters of the book.  I'm already looking forward to listening to another chapter or so when I do this same walk tomorrow morning.

I find myself wanting to start new things on the first.  The first of the month is ideal, but the first day of the week works sometimes too.  I'm really not any good at starting something on a Thursday unless that happens to be the first day of the month.  But today is Saturday, the first of August.  It was a perfect day for starting something new.  Today, I started walking again.

I walked the SummerFest 5k route, though my FitBit insists that I only did 2.63 miles.  Still, it was a good walk and I feel great.  Like I said, I'll do it again tomorrow.  That's the plan!

I'm also going to make sure I spend time reading.  I want to do that every day. I'm in the middle of reading two different books.  And every week or so, I find another book I want to read.  I'll never get through all of those books if I don't spend some time reading every day.

This is what I'm reading right now...

  1. Do Over - Jon Acuff
  2. Total Forgiveness - R. T. Kendall
This is what I have on deck...
  1. The Catholic Guide to Depression: How the Saints, the Sacraments, and Psychiatry Can Help You Break Its Grip and Find Happiness Again - Aaron Kheriarty, MD with Fr. John Cihak, STD
  2. WordPress Web Design for Dummies
  3. Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World - Michael Hyatt
  4. The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World

A couple of those are more for reference than for reading.  But I'll skim through them nonetheless.  I want to get my professional blog up and running and start pitching for freelance jobs.  So I bought a couple/few books to help out with that hustle. And I have another James Patterson book in the mail.  And I love me some fiction, so that one will likely jump to the top of the list.

I love to read.  I just need to make more time for it.  I need to make it a priority.  I'll learn a lot more from reading that I will from watching reruns of "The Waltons", regardless of how relaxing it might feel.  I've gotten into the habit of coming home from work, getting comfortable, and sitting in front of that wholesome family for a couple of hours decompressing from my day.  But it's not very productive.  I need to be/want to be a little more productive.  So I've challenged myself to spending that time walking and then reading.  It'll be good for me.  Just maybe not at the same time.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

I think I want a do over.

I recently started reading "Do Over" by Jon Acuff.  This is coming to me at such a great time.  I don't have kids' activities to run around for.  I don't have a spouse who expects meals on the table at a specific time.  My time is my own.  And I really want to take advantage of this season in my life to pursue a lifelong hobby.

I'm not going to spell out the book word for word.  But it explains that as kids, we knew we had the power to yell "Do over!" and we'd try again.  Why can't we do that still as an adult?  If you want to read this book when I'm done with it, let me know!

The good news is it's never too late to declare a Do Over. [Jon Acuff, "Do Over", page 19]
I also recently joined a really positive group on Facebook called "30 Days of Hustle."  It's more than 14,000 people who are 'hustling' towards a goal.  Their goals are anything from learning sign language so they can communicate with their deaf toddler to learning a new skill that makes them more marketable in their careers.  They spend their free time learning these skills for a purpose.  And I've joined them.

I've always enjoyed writing and have decided to learn more about freelance writing.  My hopes are that I can improve my writing to a point where I'm earning some extra money doing it.  My initial financial goal is to save 3-6 months of living expenses (Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #3).  But ultimately I want to be contributing more to my retirement (Dave Ramsey's Baby Step #4); I just feel like I've been lax on this up to now and I don't want to struggle to survive in retirement.

My HUGE goal is to replace my current income with my own freelance writing career.  I don't expect that to happen the day after tomorrow.  But I'm willing to work at it for a few years.  I want to know if I can own my own business and survive at that.  But even if I don't ever feel comfortable living off that income alone, it should be an excellent side business to help me save up for specific things that are important to me.

So if you know anyone that has a website that needs a blog... If you know anyone who needs a website with excellent content to drive customers to their site... If you know anyone who needs articles or editing or any other writing support, pass on my name... or pass their names on to me.  I'm willing to take them on as a client to build my writing repertoire.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I like coconut frosting.

I've had a relatively bad day.  Sure it could have been a lot worse.  But heck, I was only going to the office for four hours and then running a few errands.  It should have been a GREAT day.  So what the heck happened?!

I spent all day Monday working on this data analysis project.  To be honest, I've spent WEEKS working on this data analysis project.  Hours upon hours!  But this was to be the last day (or so I thought) that I'd be dealing with this data analysis project.  I was scheduled to teach ERP Tuesday through Thursday.  But my data analysis project bled over into my ERP training time.  Shocker!  My fellow instructor hates it when things like that happen and they seem to happen every time I'm scheduled to teach.  And he makes me feel bad for it every time, like it's my fault that I'm over-extended at work.  But that's not my point.  My point is, I worked 12 hours Monday and ten hours both Tuesday and Wednesday.  I worked exactly eight hours on Thursday.  And the plan was to go into work for four hours today to finish a few things that I wanted to clear from my desk that I didn't get the chance to do all week.

First, I had several classes to add to the Master Schedule.  It's not important what that is, but it is important that I needed an NMCI PC to get it done.  I have one sitting on my desk now... but for whatever reason, it won't allow me to update the Master Schedule.  I tried all kinds of things to make it work.  Still no luck.  Very frustrating.  I swear I must have rebooted that thing a dozen times.

So I stuck with processing course evaluations.  It's a boring way to spend four hours in the office, but it has to get done and no one does them but me.  So I did them.  They're done now.  All seven of them.  "Yea, me," she says with mock enthusiasm.

I expected my short, but productive day to feel good.  It didn't.  I was frustrated and bordering on angry all morning.  I couldn't wait to get out of there and get on with my personal errands that were sure to improve my day.

So I drove the interstate to Washington, listening to contemporary Christian music that I could sing along with.  I had plans to deposit my check, make a payment on my dwindling medical bills, get my hair cut, and get another gel manicure.  Lucky for me, my stops to the Credit Union and the Hospital went as planned.  But that's where the joy ended.  I don't like my haircut; it's too short and spiky.  And I don't like my manicure; she got polish on my fingers and it's not all that shiny and even.  What a waste of time and money.  But it doesn't stop there!  I went through the drive-thru at Long John Silvers to grab lunch.  And wouldn't you know it, as I was pulling out of their parking lot, I spilled the entire box of food onto the floorboard of my car.  What the heck was that all about?

I'm telling you, I couldn't wait to get home and just surround myself with bubble wrap and something lovely in my oil infuser.

And then I saw it.  The last piece of coconut cake.  Actually, I think it might be a white cake, but it had coconut frosting.  I ate it!  And I loved it!  I didn't drop it.  I didn't get any on me.  It didn't make me sick.  None of those things.  It was just lovely.  The absolute best part of my day!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Blue Skies for Two Months Straight

It's been two months.  Two full months since my last depressive episode.  I LOVE that!  I can't tell you how good that feels.  And honestly, May 19th seems like more than two months ago.  The difference between how I feel today compared to the way I felt on May 19th is hard for me to even quantify.

On a scale of one to ten, May 19th was a one; today is a ten.

Yeah, polar opposites.

I don't know that I've been doing anything in particular to maintain this emotional stability.  But I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing to try and stay right here.  Light right here emotionally, is pretty darn good.

Remembering where I was a year ago doesn't even bring me to tears anymore.  I'm doing that well.  And I'm oh-so-appreciative, oh-so-blessed.

Lord, thank You for the break from the depression.  I humbly ask for another two months.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Blue Skies

A couple of months ago, I started using weather pictures to describe the way I felt.  Check out this post, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one.  So today... lately, that is... would be sunshiny blue skies... with flowers!

I haven't had a depressive episode since May 19th.  And I feel GREAT!  Even though we've had inches of rain lately, wind, lightning, flash flooding, and power outages due to nasty weather, my mental and emotional health has been full of sunshine.

I wish I could take credit for it, but I'm not completely convinced that I can.  In addition to taking my anti-depressants, I've been saying daily prayers that speak specifically to my depression and feelings of total darkness.  And I've gone back to taking my doTerra supplements.  I've recommitted to hitting 10,000 steps every day.  And I'm reading my bible most days; my plan is to read the New Testament this summer.  I'm also reading Jon Acuff's "Do Over", which is all about getting a do over in life, possibly changing careers and such.  It's very positive and offers hope.  Maybe those things are working.  Maybe I'm just lucky right now and my brain chemicals are behaving themselves.

I've also taken on an old hobby.  Writing.  And I think it's doing me good.

I used to write all the time.  I'd write journal entries or blog entries, or I'd start writing a novel... that I'd never finish.  I've started several novels that I never finished.  Mostly I did it because I enjoyed it, not necessarily to make money off of it.

But lately, I've been drawn to writing of a different sort... freelance writing.  I've found a couple of free online courses.  I've found a supportive Facebook group.  And I'm learning how to go about writing for money.  Not only is it keeping my mind sharp... and busy... and distracted.  But I figure I can knock out Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps 2 (paying off all debt except the mortgage) & 3 (saving 3-6 months of living expenses) with the money I make.

I don't know exactly what's keeping me on the sunny side of emotional health right now.  But I'm here to tell you, with a smile on my face, that you couldn't PAY ME to stop the prayers, the supplements, and the research and exercises in writing.  Pray with me that this season lasts for quite some time.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Find the Time

I don't even remember how I came across it now.  But I'm doing a Jon Acuff challenge called #DoSummer2015.  It's all about finding a task you want to focus on and improve on.  And stop telling yourself you don't have the time. He's only asking for 15 minutes a day.  That's it, just 15 minutes a day... for three months.  By the time you're done, you'll have 1500 minutes (or 25 hours) under your belt doing what you really wanted to do.

Jon Acuff writes about finding the time, if you'd like to hear it from a professional.

I think this might have started out as a way to better yourself as an employee or make yourself more marketable... by choosing a skill you wanted to enhance.  But I honestly wanted something NON-WORK related.  So I chose walking (which will be good for my mental and physical health) and bible reading (which will be good for my spiritual and emotional health).

We started June 8th and won't finish until we get to September 8th.

If you'd like to see more about #DoSummer2015, click here.  I love it when I have a chart I can update everyday with my progress.  Just like I like it when I have a list of things to do and can cross things off that list.  I don't know, maybe I'm strange that way.

At any rate, find the time to do something to get you closer to the person you want to be.  And enjoy it!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Daily Supplements

In an effort to do what I can to stay healthy, even when I don't feel like it, I take a multitude of supplements.  I believe in doTerra's products and am currently taking their Lifelong Vitality Supplements (the first three items listed below).  In addition, I take the GX Assist and PB assist each for ten days each month to maintain colon health.  They also have a metabolic blend and a women's blend that I take daily.  Read on for more information...

Microplex VMz® 

dōTERRA®'s Microplex VMz® Food Nutrient Complex is an all-natural, whole-food formula of bioavailable vitamins and minerals that are deficient in our modern diets. The formula includes a balanced blend of essential antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, and an energy complex of B vitamins presented in a patented glycoprotein matrix. It also contains food-derived minerals of calcium, magnesium, and zinc and trace minerals for optimal bone and metabolic health. Microplex VMz contains dōTERRA's Tummy Tamer botanical blend of peppermint, ginger, and caraway to calm the the stomach for those who may have experienced stomach upset with other vitamin and mineral products. Microplex VMz is encapsulated using sodium lauryl sulfate-free vegetable capsules, does not contain wheat or dairy products, and does not include any animal products.

Alpha CRS®+ 

dōTERRA® Alpha CRS®+ Cellular Vitality Complex is a proprietary formula combining potent levels of natural botanical extracts that support healthy cell proliferation and lifespan with important metabolic factors of cellular energy to help you live younger, longer. Alpha CRS+ is formulated to be used daily with xEO Mega and Microplex VMz® as a comprehensive dietary supplement foundation for a lifetime of vitality and wellness.

xEO Mega 

dōTERRA® xEO Mega Essential Oil Omega Complex is a unique formula of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and proprietary blend of marine and land-sourced omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help support healthy joint, cardiovascular, and brain health, support healthy immune function, and have been shown to help mediate healthy inflammatory responses in cells. A single daily dose of xEO Mega provides 1000 milligrams of marine lipids with 340 mg of EPA and 240 mg of DHA and a blend of plant-sourced essential fatty acids. xEO Mega also includes 800 IU of natural vitamin D, 60 IU of natural vitamin E, and 1 mg of pure astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant carotenoid harvested from microalgae. The bioavailability of the xEO Mega formula is enhanced through a nanosomal lipid assimilation system.

GX Assist® 

dōTERRA®'s GX Assist® is a proprietary combination of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils and caprylic acid that help support a healthy digestive tract by creating an unfriendly environment for potentially harmful pathogens that can disrupt digestive immunities and cause digestive upset. GX Assist is formulated with therapeutic-grade oregano, melalueca, lemon, lemongrass, peppermint, and thyme essentials oils that have been demonstrated to have in-vitro antimicrobial properties. GX Assist also includes caprylic acid that has been traditionally used as for its specific health-supporting properties in the gut.

PB Assist®+ 

PB Assist®+ Probiotic Defense Formula is a proprietary blend of pre-biotic fiber and six strains of probiotic microorganisms in a unique double-layer vegetable capsule delivering 5 billion CFUs of active probiotic cultures and soluble pre-biotic FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) that encourages culture adhesion and growth. The time-release double-capsule delivery system protects sensitive probiotic cultures from stomach acid. PB Assist+ supports healthy digestive functions and immunities and is safe for use by all members of your family.

Slim & Sassy Softgels 

Slim & Sassy Softgels contain dōTERRA’s proprietary Slim & Sassy essential oil blend in convenient softgels to promote weight loss in a healthy, natural way. The flavorful blend of Slim & Sassy contains essential oils known to help manage hunger throughout the day while boosting metabolism and promoting a positive mood.

Women's Phytoestrogen Complex 

dōTERRA® Women Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex is a blend of natural plant extracts that support hormone balance throughout the different phases of a woman’s life. Phytoestrogen Lifetime Complex includes a standardized soy extract with genistein, a powerful phytoestrogen that binds with estrogen receptors in cells, and the natural phytoestrogens in pomegranate. It also includes and concentrated extract of flaxseed lignans to help manage potentially harmful metabolites that are produced when estrogen is metabolized in the liver. Balancing hormones and managing harmful metabolites by eating a healthy diet rich in phytoestrogens and other essential nutrients, exercising, and managing weight can help reduce uncomfortable symptoms associated with PMS and the transition through menopause and supports healthy bones, heart, breast tissue, and other body structures and functions as a woman ages. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Daily Prayers

I have several prayers that I pray every day.  The intention was that when I was depressed and not feeling well... when I didn't actually FEEL the words... I would say them anyway.  But I try to pray them every morning.  I thought I'd share a few here.

Prayer in Time of Despair (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

O Christ Jesus,
when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us,
for, living close to You,
we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things.

Anima Christi (14th Century Prayer)
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malicious enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee.
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
forever and ever.

Act of Abandonment to the Will of God
(St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way of the Cross)
My Lord and my God: 
into Your hands I abandon the past and the present  and the future, 
what is small and what is great, 
what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, 
things temporal and things eternal.  

Act of Hope
O my God, 
relying on your almighty power 
and infinite mercy and promises, 
I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, 
the help of Your grace, 
and life everlasting, 
through the merits of Jesus Christ, 
my Lord and Redeemer.  

Prayer Before a Day’s Work
Direct, we beg You, O Lord,
our actions by Your holy inspirations,
and grant that we may carry them out
with Your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours
may begin always with You,
and through You be happily ended.

Prayer of St. Benedict Joseph Labre
Eternal Father,
Through the Precious Blood of Jesus,
have Mercy.
Console us in our moment of
need and tribulation,
As You once consoled Job, Hanna,
and Tobias, in their
And Mary,
Comforter of the Afflicted,
pray and placate God for us,
And obtain for us the grace
for which we humbly pray.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Essential Oils

I've been reading up on Essential Oils a lot lately.  I just don't feel like my anti-depressants are always doing what I want them to.  (Though right now I feel GREAT and have since around the 22nd of May.)  I also have ALWAYS felt that my depression was hormonally charged.  The fact that my depression appears to be getting worse as I age, only confirms that for me.  So I was enticed by an article with the title "9 Essential Oils that Support Hormonal Balance".

I don't have/use all of the oils mentioned.  But I do have a few of them.  So I added a few things to my daily routine.  It's only been a few days, so I don't have any updates as to their effectiveness.  I'll know more once I get through 'that time of month', which won't be for another ten days.  But a couple of things I'm adding are:

  • Basil: 1-2 drops applied to the cartilage above the earlobes daily for adrenal gland balance
  • Lemongrass & Myrrh:  2-4 drops applied to the thyroid area daily, alternating weekly with Balance & Geranium for thyroid balance (The article actually suggests Myrtle, which I don't have.  But another source suggested Myrrh, which I have.)
  • Clary Sage:  a few drops added to a carrier oil and rubbed into the ankles daily for ovary balance

I was also intrigued by an article with the title "Essential Oils for Emotional Well Being".  They cover several negative emotions, but I've included the information for a few below.  They reference a book, "Releasing Emotional Patterns w/Essential Oils" by Carolyn Mein which I've now purchased, that lists negative emotions, their positive counterparts, the oil that should be applied, where to apply it, and what you should say as you're applying it.

Feeling Worthless

  • OIL:  Frankincense
  • APPLY:  to cheeks
  • MANTRA:  "I am valuable."
Feeling Lazy
  • OIL:  Spearmint
  • APPLY:  to pancreatic duct, just below sternum
  • MANTRA:  "I am motivated."
  • OIL:  Peppermint
  • APPLY:  to thymus area at left collarbone
  • MANTRA:  "I accept growth."
  • OIL:  Purification (Purify)
  • APPLY:  to the liver point, top of foot between big toe and second toe
  • MANTRA:  "My direction is clear."

**I found both of these articles because I follow Essential Oils Queen on Facebook.

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!