Current Mental Health – December 2019

Acceptance
Photo credit; Feggy Art on Visual hunt /CC BY-NC-ND

Volunteering at an animal rescue: I started volunteering with animals again, after years of merely contemplating it. I could never quite make that leap. I beat my anxiety about it, but I still doubt myself.

At first, I worked with the dogs (giving them outside time, cleaning their kennels, and so on), but since then I’ve been writing thank-you cards to donors pretty much each week. Because I don’t work directly with the dogs, I feel that I’m not as essential to the rescue and that somehow I am less than other volunteers. To be perfectly honest, I prefer thank-you writing because I’ve developed a slight fear of dogs, ever since the time a dog got really mouthy with me — she had my fingers in her mouth and brought her mouth too close to my face for comfort. I didn’t know what to do, and I never mentioned it to anyone. Other people didn’t have problems with her (as noted in the Facebook volunteer group) and she has long since been adopted. But my anxiety remains.

Depression: My depression has mostly remained in remission, although I hit a rough patch earlier this month. I began using my light box again, which nipped that in the bud. Showering is still sometimes a challenge, especially because it’s so cold in the bathroom! But I manage.

Hobbies: I took up knitting again! I don’t think I hold my hands properly, but the proper way is uncomfortable for me. I haven’t made anything yet because I need tons of practice. All of my practice swatches have holes in them, and I keep adding stitches lol! I’m trying to be patient. In case you’re wondering, I still crochet.

Holidays: My husband and I spent Christmas just the two of us and our dog and cat. (Our cat, Angelo, turned 19 in December!) We exchanged gifts and had a very nice meal that my husband cooked: corn and scallion salad, mashed potatoes with a bechamel cheese sauce, and roasted mushrooms with garlic (we’re vegetarians). And apple pie (not homemade) for dessert. Later in the evening we saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (link contains SPOILERS) for the second time in 5 days lol!

Happy New Year! I am looking forward to continued good mental health in the coming year; and now that I’m in my 50s, I’m looking forward to the new decade!


What are you looking forward to?

Working on us, Week 7

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*** Trigger Warning ***

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.

Week #7 (Delicate Topic) – Suicide Ideation

Prompt #1 Questions

I am glad that Beckie chose “suicide” as this week’s topic. We need to talk about it instead of being silent.

  1. Have you ever experienced suicidal thoughts? Many, many times.
  2. Have you ever attempted suicide? A number of times.
  3. Were you ever hospitalized for a suicidal attempt and/or ideation? Several times.
  4. When you were hospitalized, what was your experience like? I’ve been hospitalized numerous times at different hospitals, so my experience is varied. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at a truly frightening psych ward. All but one were bad, but at least they weren’t worse, which I’m certain some places are. And then there’s my psych unit “of choice,” in which you were allowed a number of personal freedoms. And you got your own room.
  5. Do you ever feel suicidal ideation since your release? Yes, I have, but I haven’t acted on it. Although medication is readily available to me, my husband has hidden all of  our knives and razors.

 

Working on Us, Week 6

Hands Over Face
Photo from Pixabay

On her blog, Beckie of Beckie’s Mental Mess has introduced a set of prompts that touches on mental illness. Each week she offers up 2 prompts for bloggers to use in a nonfiction, fiction, or poetry piece. You can respond to either prompt, or both. For more information, click here. The rules are below. This week, I am responding to Prompt 1.

 

Rules:

  • Write your own post and create a pingback to the original post here.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.  Write in any format you see fit.  (Answer’s, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, poem, short prose…anything).
  • You can do one or all prompts.
  • You have from July 10th. through to July 17th to submit your entries.
  • Please reblog the original post in order to spread more awareness.
  • If you the blogger have a suggestion/question you want to ask in the future weeks, please submit them in the comment section of this post.
  • Let’s see if we can get some men involved in this weeks prompts, your feelings a validated here too!
  • Plus, as an added bonus, whoever responds to the following prompts will automatically be reblogged to promote your blog site!

~ 💚 ~

Week #6 Prompts: 

Prompt #1 Questions:

1. There are so many varieties of depression out there, such as Bipolar Depression, and (SAD) Seasonal Affective Disorder.  What type of depression do you suffer from, or have? I’ve suffered from bipolar depression for half of my adult life, as well as from seasonal changes (SAD).

2. What do you do to fight your depression? (Meaning, therapy, medications, meditation, ECT). Medication and therapy, inpatient hospitalizations, partial hospitalizations, and finally ECT, which I no longer undergo. And to be honest, I don’t know if I would choose that treatment option in the future.

3. Does anything help you, and if so… What? ECT has helped in the past, but it isn’t a permanent solution. More recently, my psychiatrist switched my mood stabilizer from Tegretol to lithium, which has lessened my depressive symptoms. It’s working.

Self-Forgiveness

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Photo by Joshua Jordan on Unsplash

Something I really struggle with is forgiving myself. I’m so used to beating myself up for anything and everything that I might as well be bruised all over. I think of myself as a loser.

I know better, and I’m improving as far as not beating myself up goes. For example, I began working out recently. If I miss a day, I’m not going to feel guilty about it like I normally would. I’d just say, “Oh, well” and know that I can try again tomorrow.

Or maybe I’ll decide to eat something that’s calorie dense like chocolate-covered coconut creams. Oh, well. It might make me gain a few ounces, but certainly not several pounds. Of course it’s possible to overdo the “oh, well’s” so you have to be careful. Otherwise, how would you ever get anything done?

Same, But Different

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Photo by Michael Walter on Unsplash

DEAR READERS: You’ve probably noticed that my recent posts have been all over the place, as far as the topics go. This is because I kind of don’t know what to write about. I’m well. I still can’t believe it, but I am doing well. During this last depression I never saw a light at the end of the tunnel and didn’t think one existed, but there is a light, and there is an ending.

There’s also a sequel, and that’s my current “non-depressed” life. And because of that, I don’t feel that I have much to offer regarding mental illness right now. At the same time, I love the freedom of choosing from many topics rather than just mental health/bipolar.

I’ve posted some “off-topic” posts in the past that were received well. So maybe I shouldn’t worry so much? I still want my blog to be about mental health first and foremost. Maybe that includes blogging about what it’s like to not be depressed, what it’s like to simply live with (treated) bipolar?

I don’t know. I guess I’ll figure it out as I go along. Thank you all for your patience and for sticking with me.

Best, Barb


Have you ever wanted to change the direction of your blog? Or has it evolved as it gets older?