Forecast Is For A Good Weekend and “Coming Out” as Depressed and Pocket Peace

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Forecast Is For A Good Weekend

I am thinking that today will be the antithesis of last Saturday…which is good, I think it is about time that I feel like I am going to enjoy a day. As a matter-of-fact, I think I have myself lined up for  good weekend.  Keep your fingers crossed that it actually is a good weekend for me!

Why am I thinking it will be good?  Well….I have plans with a couple of friends that I am looking forward to and will enjoy.  First off, this afternoon I am going over to Social Strawberries’ house for a little while.  I am taking her one of my rhubarb plants as she was wanting one and mine have gotten huge and I need to thin them. I will hang out with her for a little while and get a chance to see Pixie too.

From her house, I am driving down to another friend’s house and I will hang out with her a while, then go trick-or-treating with her and her daughter and then I am spending the night.  I haven’t seen this friend in a while…And I needed to go see her…It is past time that we got together.

So, between visiting with these two friends, I will be pumped full of “feel good” energy.  🙂

“Coming Out” as Depressed

So…I don’t know who you share your depression with…but I pretty much don’t talk about it to anyone.  I am sooo afraid of being judged and sooo afraid of the stigma associated with depression that I figure it will be easier to only let them know the “functional me” and skip all that messy stuff about the rest of me.  So…other than my health providers, and dh, only two of my closest friends know.  Until last night anyway.

Last night I was Facebook IMing Social Strawberries about said rhubarb visit and work.  Now…SS is no slouch (one of the things that I like about her!). A few weeks ago, I posted that picture of Pixie on my blog.  Well, before I did so, I asked SS if I could post it.  She said yes and then asked what I blogged about.  And….I panicked. And dealt with it in a very mature way…I pretended she hadn’t asked. But last night as we were IMing, she asked again. (I kinda knew she wouldn’t forget…thus the “no slouch”-nes)

And I took a huge risk.  I was very worried because I actually like SS and I didn’t want to do anything to mess up this friendship. But…I told her. I told her my blog is about having severe depression, PTSD and social anxiety.  Since she didn’t immediately shut down our chat and then unfriend me…I guess that my revelation wasn’t too awful for her.  I am still a bit nervous about it though as I am not good at being brave.

Oh…and to top it off, I gave her a link to my blog.  In for a penny, in for a pound, right?

Pocket Peace

Today’s mandala reminds me of the original Pocket Peace.  I still miss that one.  I never, ever carried Pocket Peace #2.  I think I still have it shoved aside on my art desk, but I just never liked and don’t find it peaceful…It touches something too sensitive in me and makes me feel vulnerable rather than peaceful.

However, I have not been PP-less.  Several weeks ago, the AT gave me PP #3, which I have been carrying pretty diligently (except for the week of the Forgetting Incident) since I got it.

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As you can see, it is pretty rumpled and creased at this point.

When the AT cut out the paper for me to do PP #2, he accidentally cut two pieces of paper, so there were two squares.  I took mine and then I slid the other one across the table to him and told him that he had to make a PP too. And to my surprise, he did!

Anyway, a few weeks after that, he asked me if I was carrying PP #2 and I told him I wasn’t because I don’t like it.  He offered me his PP (which was taped above his desk.)  It took me a minute to accept his offer, but I did. (I never know what to do when people do things that are “nice”…it makes me feel so awkward…Probably a topic for another blog post).  So…now I have PP #3.

And yes, the whole Pocket Peace thing does work really well for me.  It is all about mindfulness and carrying my PP gives me comfort. When I am feeling stressed, I find my hand in my pocket. Just making a physical connection with PP which is soothing to me. So, it works! It appears that the AT does actually know what he is doing! 😉

Trusting the Art Therapist Again and Dear Doctor (A Real Letter!)

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The one thing about the gel pens on black…The flash picks up the metallics and washes out the colors.  Other than that…I love gel pens on black!

Trusting the Art Therapist Again

Therapy yesterday was good.  I realized that I am pretty much back to my trust baseline with the AT after the Forgetting Incident.  His forgetting was about him, not me.  It was not a value judgment about me.  It was not intended to hurt me. He simply had a memory lapse.  Should he have? Nope.  But it happened.  I survived.  I told him (eventually) how it made me feel.  I worked through my anger and disappointment and hurt.  And now…it just falls under the “bump in road” category.  I like him. I trust him. I’m keeping him.

Dear Doctor

So…I wrote a letter to my doctor about my appointment on Tuesday.  Since I was at her office yesterday for my Nutritionist appointment, I dropped it off.  This was late in the day, so I don’t know if she got to read it yesterday or not.

Here’s my letter.

[Doctor],

I was thinking about our meeting on Tuesday and I wanted to follow-up on something.  I felt as though you were making the conclusion that I am making a minimal effort towards recovering from my depression. Unfortunately, I didn’t express to you the things that I have been doing in terms of making progress with my mood and I would like the opportunity to do so.

I write a blog in which I chronicle my struggles with my depression/PTSD/social anxiety. After our appointment, I listed on my blog all the things I am currently doing to improve my mood and general mental health.  The following is a copy of that list:

[So, I cut and pasted that long bulleted list from the Dear Doctor, Don’t Judge Me post and inserted it here. I edited it slightly for context]

[Doctor], I would like you to know that I am not complacent with my depression. I hate being depressed. I hate feeling bad all the time. I miss my “before” life.  This not how I want to live the rest of my life.

After my appointment Tuesday, I drove home pretty much in tears because I felt like you were making the judgment that I am not trying hard enough to get better.  All I can say is that I am trying and I am making progress.

I would like to encourage you to contact my therapist if you would like to talk about my progress and/or any concerns you might have about my progress. Of course, you are welcome to talk to me about it too!  I am certainly willing to come back and talk to you more, just let me know if you think that would be helpful.

Thanks,

Heidi

Soooo….you can see I had my big-girl pants on.  🙂  The only thing I realized after I dropped off the letter was that I never said how I felt after the appoint, that I was angry and hurt.  But honestly, it would have been really, really hard to admit feelings like that. I am okay with the letter as is.

And I did send the AT a quick email to let him know that she might call.  I don’t know how she’ll react or if she will reach out to him or me…But time will tell.

The Windy Hinterlands and Today’s Appointments

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The Windy Hinterlands

Yesterday was actually an okay day for me.  After I dumped my anger on my blog, I felt much more balanced and was able to let most of my frustration stop eating at me.  I did channel some of my anger energy into chores around the house…So, I was productive rather than destructive with it.

Yesterday was hard for my PTSD though. We had a windstorm yesterday.  It started in the morning and peaked in the evening before finally tapering off in the middle of the night.  When it is really windy like that, the house shakes and the windows and doors rattle and there is lots of noise outside.  It always sounds like there is someone trying to get into the house and it makes me soo nervous and jumpy.  And when I went outside at some point to check the chickens, I thought I heard a man’s voice in the woods and I about jumped out of my skin.  I scanned the woods, but there was no man to be seen and then I realized it was really the creaking of two trees rubbing together.  My brain understood the sound, but at that point, the adrenaline was already flowing and my edginess was even edgier.  My hyper-vigilance and startling were in overdrive all day.

Of course, when it is windy like that, it is hard for me to sleep for the aforementioned reasons.  So, this morning, I am really, really tired. I will probably take a nap later.

It will be interesting to see what it looks like outside when the sun comes up.  The other thing a bit unnerving about these windstorms is that we sit in the house and listen to the trees breaking.  It is like that in big snowstorms too.  It is kind of a wild place here when the weather gets active.  Oh…and the power goes out a lot too. Last night, it only went out for a few hours, but in the winter when we have huge snowstorms and the power company is stretched thin fixing things, our power goes out for days.  (Like 3-4 days.)  Never a dull moment here in the windy and snowy hinterlands!

Today’s Appointments

I have Art Therapy today and I am glad I am going.  No ambivalence today, I just want to go and get some work done.

And it is a Nutritionist day again.  That should be pretty uneventful.

Dear Doctor, Don’t Judge Me. Sincerely, Heidi

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Dear Doctor,

Don’t Judge Me.

Sincerely,

Heidi

I have one simple (ha!) goal for today:  To not turn my hurt and anger inwards and take it out on myself.  I have done that twice in the past couple of weeks…and I need to find some other way to cope.  I have new coping skills, I don’t need to revert to old coping skills.

I saw my Primary Physician yesterday and left the appointment so frustrated and angry and hurt that I could barely keep myself from crying as I drove home.  I don’t really want to go over what was said as it will frustrate me more…but I left feeling like she thinks I am not trying hard enough to get better.  And boy did that sting and infuriate me.  I did not defend myself in her office…Maybe I should have and I wouldn’t be feeling so angry.  But she doesn’t understand why I am taking so little lamotrigine (because this dose does make me feel better), she doesn’t see what things I am doing to really make progress (Cuz therapy, and meds apparently don’t count) although she did concede that I am seeing the nutritionist so it seems like maybe I do want to make progress.  But, I guess it’s not enough for her.

So…I kind of feel like, fuck her.

And in case anyone is keeping score…Here’s what I am doing to make progress:

  • I take psych medication and though I am reluctant to add new meds and/or change doses, I do make these changes (even if it takes me a while to get there.) And I don’t even want to take medication at all, but I do.
  • I take said medications and supplements faithfully every.single.day.  I do not miss doses, I do not let my medications run out so I am out of doses, I do not tweak or fiddle with dosing.  I take them every day like I am supposed to.
  • I go to therapy.  As a matter of fact, I go to therapy twice a week because I am trying to get better.  I work on hard stuff in therapy…sometimes it is two steps forward and then what feels like twenty steps back, but I go.  I do not miss appointments, I do not waste appointments. I take my work seriously and try my best.
  • I do my yoga.  The whole reason I started yoga was to help me progress forward, to become more comfortable with/in my body.  Ultimately, yoga helps nurture me in mind/spirit ways that I did not expect and those unexpected benefits are what really keeps me going back.  (And I love the body benefits too…It’s kind of a win all the way around.)  And yoga has been challenging for me to do because of my body image issues and body shame, but I have done it anyway…I didn’t quit just because it felt awkward in the beginning, I stuck with it.
  • I have been reaching out more to friends and trying to foster a new friendship with Social Strawberries.  I am trying not to isolate myself.  As a matter of fact, I found out at the beginning of the month that a friend that I have had for the past few years has basically dumped me and though that was hard and I felt hurt about it, it has not made me withdraw from my other friends.
  • I write this blog.  And I get support from other bloggers who have become “virtual” friends.
  • I let the AT and my PNP read my blog.  I figure the more they know and understand about me, the better off I will be.  Am I baring my most inner feelings/inner self? Yup. And I hope that by letting them have access to my inner workings, they can help me more.
  • I have been more open and talking more with my husband about how I am doing and what I am feeling.  This has been super challenging for me, but I do it anyway.
  • I see the nutritionist to take better care of myself physically and to improve my overall health by losing weight.
  • I still work, even if only per diem because it gets me out of the house and around people and because it makes me feel competent and boosts my feelings of self-worth.  And I do this at a place that I would rather not work.  My life would be tons easier if I didn’t work at all…but I go and I do my work.
  • I do my art.  I draw/paint/collage and express my feelings and do so more than I have ever done in the past.
  •  I am trying to not keep everything inside and I am learning it is okay to externalize feelings and that it does not actually push people away.
  • I am not relying on lorazepam to regulate my mood and feelings and numb me.  Do you know how easy that would be to do?  Lorazepam makes me feel good and calm and better and I could really, really like that.  But I take it sparingly.
  • I have not killed myself.  Nor have I attempted to kill myself.  I suck it up and keep going.  Or..maybe I don’t just suck it up…I go to therapy so that I can work on my issues.
  • I get out of bed every morning and make myself function.  I do not just lay in bed under my covers and indulge my depression and desire to escape from the world. I keep participating in the world.

Is my progress slow?  Maybe.  But am I making progress?  If I think of where I was in January and February of this year then yes, I have made progress for sure.  Maybe the progress doesn’t meet other people’s standards, but I am making progress.

And why do I do all of this? Why do I spend time and money and energy on all of this?  Because I want to get better. And if anyone wants to stand in judgement and imply that I am settling or that I am not trying hard enough…Then fuck them. Seriously, they can just fuck off.  I don’t need that.  And look, I am not saying I don’t need prodding and nudging and an occasional shove to help me along the way (which I get in a supportive and non-judgmental way from the AT)  But when I start to feel judged about it and not acknowledged for the efforts I am making…Well…then, as you can see, I get pissed.

Weird, Weird Therapy and Let’s Add One More Player

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Weird, Weird Therapy

Art Therapy was weird yesterday.  Plain and simple: Weird.

The AT always wants me to lead in therapy…And I hate doing it.  And I was having my therapy-ambivalence, so I took in a whole page list of questions that I have been wanting to ask him over the past few months.  And I gave him the list and I settled into drawing while he went through the list.

I guess it was my attempt at having a less intense day…But I am not sure it worked.  Weeelllll….I am pretty sure it didn’t work.  And the AT was just oozing weird energy and I have such a hard time deflecting that….In the end…it felt just as intense as any other session. But at least I tried to do something different to take care of myself.  I get credit for that, right?

And I really needed to tell him something about the weekend…but there didn’t seem to be a right time to talk to him about it…And thus I didn’t.  <sigh>

Let’s Not Add One More Player

So, today I have an appointment with my primary physician.  It is my first depression/psych check-up…whatever that means!  When we talked about it in the summer, it made sense since she wants to be more involved…ummm….maybe just more informed about my mental health care.  Now…it seems weird.  And I am a bit anxious as to if she is going to give me the dreaded PHQ-9 because I know I will score really, really badly on it.  Let’s see…I bet I can find one online and take it. Yup…yucky score.

You know…this has been a really bad month for me mood-wise.  I am soo over October!

Monday, Monday

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Yesterday I started my morning with yoga, which was fantastic. I get sooo much out of yoga.  And the instructor talked to me a little bit as we started our session about the changing seasons and asked how I was doing with it.  And she talked a bit about how life kind of goes up and down and that it is all part of who we are and to embrace those parts…It was a very sincere discussion and I really appreciated it and it gave me some things to think about.  I really like my instructor and she has this knack of saying the things I need to hear at the time…It is a little bit unnerving, but is really helpful.

So. Today is another Art Therapy day. And I am again feeling ambivalent.  Or maybe more than ambivalent…I have thought of quitting Art Therapy several times in the past couple of weeks.  I think what I really need is to have therapy slow down and give me a chance to regroup and get my feet under me.

Have you ever been swimming in the ocean?  And you know when a big wave comes and hits you and knocks you off balance?  If you can get your footing back, you can stay standing and then you are ready for the next wave and the next.  But if the first wave knocks you off balance, and your feel get out from under you, then the next wave hits you as you are struggling to regain your balance and pushes you further down, and the next wave hits you and does the same.  You struggle and panic and then you get hit and slammed down by another wave.  That’s kind of how therapy feels right now…Like I just keep getting hammered and I am totally off balance and I am going to drown.  What I need is some slow and gentle waves to come so I can get a chance to get back on my feet and get my footing again.

We’ll see how that goes today.

Lost Blog Post

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I just spent an hour writing a really long blog about my hard day yesterday….And I went to edit the title and somehow deleted the whole blog…It is just gone…Not in my drafts, not as a work in progress…It is gone. And I don’t have it in me to re-write it right now…It was painful to write the first time…I am not keen on writing it again.  I can’t believe it is gone.