Taking Stock

It’s a new year and the tendency is to resolve to be better in the year ahead. Three days in, I’ve done that, broken that and become a bit lost. So after a long absence, I thought I might return to blogging, something that has helped me so much in the past in figuring out where I am and where I am going. So here I am.

Major Depression:

Six years post-major depressive breakdown, I really do feel like I’m on the verge of breaking free. There have been several relapses, but they aren’t as bad now. My doctor and I have been lowering my medication over the past year, and I’ve managed to make some progress regaining my career. Low mood, hopelessness or sadness aren’t so much the issues now as anxiety. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

The companion of my depression has been anxiety. This, I think, is my biggest obstacle at the moment, but here too there has been progress. I think for a long time my shame over mental illness fueled my anxiety and made me so afraid of people finding out. But a lot has happened to fight the stigma of mental illness and I think this has helped. I’m comfortable discussing it with some friends, I don’t dread going to see my psychiatrist, and I’m not ashamed to admit my situation to myself. 

But I’m currently not managing my anxiety very well.  I’m struggling a lot financially, the aftermath of my prolonged depression and career issues. I’ve taken significance steps to address this, but until these play out there is a lot of immediate stress in trying to stay afloat. So here is where I try to remind myself that I have taken the steps, that I’m almost at a point where I can balance things. But it’s hard. Not being able to pay for the simplest things, figuring out how I’ll feed myself and get to work until my next pay cheque arrives…it all adds up. My psoriasis has flared up and there are big red sores where I’ve scratched too much. I wake up with my fists clenched and tension up and down my arms. I struggle to sleep at night and yet sleep way too much overall. I’m sleeping in the day to avoid my worries, but this is just perpetuating things. 

I also stress about work. I’m struggling with a project and veer from worry to avoidance. This has affected my recent work and I’m seriously stressed about going in to work this week. I also worry about my work reputation, which compounds other worries. 

Right Now

I feel this post getting more negative as I confront my worries. So I will take a step back and look again at the big picture.

Depression: under control, with the exception of oversleeping

Anxiety: grounded in real stresses that I’m taking steps to manage

Medication: gradually lowering

Work: I’m functional, I have recovered some of the ground lost when I was laid off, and I have found a job and organization that I like

Social: I’m making some efforts to break free of my hermit like ways, though there is still a lot of work to do here

Shame: lessening as I’ve stopped self-stigmatizing and I have opened up to some

So that’s where I am in a nutshell. Thanks for listening 🙂

A day well spent

I left the house today and really, that is the key to a good day I think. I had no expectations of myself except that I wanted to go to a free outdoor yoga class and I wanted to ride my bike there.

Here’s my day:
-slept in
-showered
-rode my bike to the park
-did outdoor yoga
-rode my bike to a coffee shop for lunch and an iced latte
-rode home
-relaxed and blogged etc
-rode my bike for about 3 km
-settled down on under a shady tree and studied for two hours while enjoying the sounds of the birds and dogs, and the views of grass and trees and water
-returned home
-relaxed on my patio

In all I probably had about 5 hours of productivity but I feel so good, like I accomplished some great things today. Mostly, today was a success in continuing to build new paths in my brain, hoping that I develop this leisurely approach to my free schedule as a habit. Yay!

June Challenge: Day 1

Fail. …No wait a moment, that is my inner perfectionist speaking. I did 7 of 9 tasks or 78%, so I guess that’s a B.

Where I went wrong: I had a nap. I can’t seem to get back up again afterwards so I missed my workout/social time. This is becoming a terrible pattern. And it is the reason I’m now up in the middle of the night.

I also binged on Haagen Dazs when I was feeling guilty and disappointed. This isn’t on the list, but it is not a good thing.

I’m not sure this week’s list confronts my worst habits and avoidances, but it’s a start. I’ve already mentally started a list of things for next week’s challenge.

– no naps
– eat vegetable dish
– record what I eat

Here is the progress, as requested Cal! I had started with check marks but dug out the stars after your comment. So now they look like shooting stars! 😉

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Breaking an ingrained habit

Today I made inroads in breaking one of my worst habits.

I’ve been struggling with fatigue and tummy troubles for the past few days. I’m genuinely fatigued, not oversleeping like in the past. I have a full plate schedule-wise with my return to full time work and my intensive yoga training. It will still be another week before I have a day off.

So this morning I had a really hard time waking up. I was so exhausted and still struggling with my upset tummy. And I was really, really anxious! I had a meeting with my boss’s boss today and I was nervous. I was also meeting up at lunch with old colleagues from my major depression days, who were likely expecting me to cancel. I seriously considered calling in sick.

I mean, seriously considered it. I slept in an extra half hour and it was, I think, only my kitty’s sad, hungry face that first got me moving. Plus, I just really didn’t want to disappoint myself. I haven’t missed a work day since October. So I got in the shower and started to feel better and then drove to work since it was too late for the bus.

In the end I was late for work but not too much (no way I could manage the morning without stopping for coffee!). And then I was fine!

My boss is really happy with my work. My input is taken seriously. I have a sort of work plan now so I was busy all day. And my lunch with my former colleagues was really nice!

Nothing to stress over.

Which reminds me: I was obviously too much into the future when I woke this morning! Borrowing worries for things that hadn’t happened.

Anyways, I feel like it is a pivotal day because of this: I faced a situation where I was exhausted, sick to my stomach, and really anxious. It was morning, when my defenses are low and I have a tendency to hide under the covers. And I broke through my habit! I’ll likely have other days when I struggle, but the fact that I won today will be very encouraging the next time I’m tempted to hide under the covers.

Also, more important than the actual fact of missing work, if I had called in sick I would have felt so guilty and ashamed. And that would have affected my comfort level at work. I would always face my colleagues with that shame hanging over me.

So for these reasons, what started as a pretty bad morning ended up being a great day. And now I’m taking the evening to just rest and take care of me. I was juggling too many things last night and will be again tomorrow, so today, I just need to chill…. That, and treat my psoriasis. It’s been having a field day with this underlying stress! 😛

Getting Better

Today I saw my psychiatrist for the first time in a couple of months. Now that I’m getting better I don’t have to check in as often.

It was a very good appointment. I told my doctor about how my mood has been pretty good lately. That there are more good days than bad days.

I also told her about my efforts at yoga training, daily yoga and getting a new full time job. She was thrilled with how things are going and also validated my choice to not worry about the daily yoga now that I’m working and super busy with my yoga teacher training assignments. Yay for having an expert think I made the right choice. 🙂

I mentioned my only concern was my insomnia – that for the past month or more I’ve been waking up automatically at 4 am each day. She thought there might be something to my theory that it was the switch to the generic version of Wellbutrin that led to this new development. That the generic version may have different time release properties. So I’m going back on brand name Wellbutrin and we’ll see if that helps.

Today I had a great day at work. The people I needed to speak to were there so I was able to get the feedback I needed on my plan. I love it when I feel productive.

I was still really tired at the end of the day, though, and had a lengthy nap. No yoga for me today! Hopefully the nap won’t interfere too much with sleep tonight.

Tomorrow I have guests coming over again, so the socialization should be good. 🙂

A Productive Monday

Today was much better than the weekend. I straightened out the contract once and for all (no, not enough certainties or money) and was feeling energetic.

I saw my therapist for the first time in 6 weeks and she was amazed at how much progress I’ve made. She could tell right away by the way that I was talking that I am more upbeat and energetic. And it’s mostly due to you! I told her about how much support I get through our little community and how beneficial blogging has been in helping me be more conscious my moods and anxieties and the influences behind them. And my reactions – I’m beating myself up less often.

She laughed and said I was too funny when I showed her my one week challenge (smiley faces and all!) but was very happy that I’d taken her advice (break things down) and applied it in my own way to make it work for me. It’s okay if it looks childish – I apparently like putting stickers in boxes! Lol

I also did a lot of work on the career front. I applied for one job and I also met with a friend experienced in freelance work to find out if it’s really worth my time pursuing it.

So, here is today’s tally:
Get out of bed – check
Go outside – check
Career – check
Socialize – check
Mental health stuff (therapy) – check.

I’m liking the new challenge, but I need to find a way to fit exercise in more often.

Good night! 🙂