Current Mental Health – June 2019

Depressed Symptoms on Name Tags
Photo by VisualHunt

Hi, everyone! It’s been about a year (14 months!) since I was discharged from my second hospitalization last year. I worked hard to strengthen my mental health in that time — went to a partial hospitalization program (even though I quit); kept taking my meds; trying to get out as much as I can (with my husband; I still haven’t overcome my fear of leaving the house by myself). Also, my psychiatrist added lithium to my cocktail, which helped tremendously. I’ve been “fine” for about a year.

However, sleep is still a problem, although now I only wake up once in the middle of the night rather than 3 or 4 times. Usually, I can fall back asleep right away instead of tossing and turning like I used to. At least I’m waking up in bed instead of the couch, where I sometimes move to at some point in the night. However, I was only averaging 3 – 4 hours of sleep, and that’s not enough. (Now I sleep for 5-1/2 – 6 hours.) My doctor and I decided to try Ambien, which I’m not sure worked. I only took it twice so I couldn’t tell, but afterwards, I started having depressive symptoms again.

I imagine that many of you know what depression is like, and that it’s different for everybody. For me, I stopped showering, which is the first clue that I’m depressed. Then I stopped changing out of my pajamas and brushing my teeth. I didn’t go out, even with my husband; I isolated. My mood was really down, and sometimes I felt like crying for no reason. I was tired all the time.

Then we went to Vegas for my niece’s 1st birthday earlier this month, and stayed for a few days. We did a lot of touristy stuff — it was fun! But when I returned, my mood took a dive again. It’s not as bad as before the trip, but I’m on alert. This is what I’m going through right now, fighting the demons that convince me not to shower, brush my teeth, etc.

Fortunately, I still have some energy, which has helped me go out with my husband and do stuff, even if it’s just a trip to the store. I hope this goes away.


How do you know that you’re starting to become depressed? Or does it hit you all at once?

 

Massage Creepiness

woman relaxing relax spa
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Massage is wonderful for depression because you release serotonin. If you’re depressed, your serotonin level may be deficient. It also helps reduce the tightness in your muscles, but you already know that!

I used to get a massage every 4 weeks at the salon where I go regularly. Then my massage therapist took another job, and I haven’t had regular massages since. He was never replaced. This was like a year ago. Since then, I’ve only received maybe 2 massages, one by a man and one by a woman.

There’s a massage place not far from me. All they do is massage. I’ve been there once before and left satisfied. However, I’ve been hesitating making an appointment. I don’t know why. Maybe because you get any one of their 14 therapists, male or female? Though most of them are women.

I’ve had one male therapist — the one who left the salon — and I felt comfortable around him, not vulnerable. I had another male therapist one time only, and he did an awesome job. It was the best massage I’ve ever had! I didn’t feel vulnerable around him, but he was kind of creepy. He would moan and groan every so often while working on me. Yikes!

So I don’t know what to expect with guys. On the one hand, men apply pressure strongly and really get at those knots. On the other hand, they (and I suppose women) can be weird, like the Moaner.

Maybe I can request a specific therapist, or whether I prefer a male or female therapist. All I have to do is pick up the phone and call them. But I hate talking on the phone so much, which is another reason I’ve been procrastinating. Even though my muscles are screaming to be unknotted!


Would you prefer a massage therapist of the same or opposite sex? Or does it matter?

Working on Us, Week 2: Mental Health Challenges

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Photo on VisualHunt.com

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 and the guidelines, click here. I am going to respond to Prompt 1.

What is the most challenging thing you face with regard to your mental illness? For me, the answer is lack of motivation. When I’m depressed it’s sometimes impossible to get out of bed. And if I do make it out of bed, I really have to push myself to shower. Even then it’s hard to push myself. All I want to do is lie around in my pajamas.


Does this sound familiar?

Rudy, Trainer of Hoomans

Photo provided by Author

So for the past couple of months, our dog Rudy has been following me down the hall from the living room to the kitchen. Every. Time. He’s always expecting a treat, and sucker that I am, I always give in. It’s so hard to say no! Look at those eyes!!

The trainer said we should switch things up so Rudy won’t recognize that he’s about to get a “cookie.” I’m afraid the opposite has happened because he now knows that any time I get up and head down the hall, it means that treats are coming! NOM!!

If I go into the bedroom to shower, Rudy will jump on the bed and wait until I’m absolutely finished getting ready. He never does that! As we go out the door, he turns left towards the kitchen, while I turn right to go to the living room. And halfway there, I turn around and meet him in the kitchen for treats.

Rudy and I had a special bond from the moment he came home with us. I got sick (depressed) for about a year and couldn’t take care of him. During that time my husband looked after him and does so to this day. Now I’ve been trying to “buy” his love back with treats. Haha! Slowly but surely, he’ll come around!

Follow Rudy on Instagram: @rudy_thegoodboy


Does your companion animal “own” you the way Rudy owns me?

Ketamine Infusion

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Two or 3 years ago I had been depressed for so long, despite taking various medications and having ECT, that my psychiatrist told me about another treatment: ketamine infusion. Yep, that ketamine.

They insert an IV in your arm, which is connected to a ketamine drip. Then you sit in a comfy chair for about an hour, while the drug is administered. It works quickly — within a few hours, even. And it’s an outpatient procedure.

The catch? It isn’t approved by the FDA, nor does insurance cover it, nor has it been around for very long. Five years, maybe? According to this article, esketamine, which is a kind of ketamine, was recently approved by the FDA in the form of a nasal spray for depression. I don’t know about you, but that sounds weird to me. A nasal spray?? For depression??

The other thing is that you’d need to have the cash to spare to do the infusions, which prevents most people from getting it done. Like ECT you have to go in for a series of treatments, which can become really expensive, really quickly.

I don’t know about the nasal spray, but I would totally try a ketamine infusion before having ECT again. On the other hand, who can afford it? My husband says that if I ever reach that point, hopefully insurance will be paying for it by then.


Have you ever had a ketamine infusion? Would you try it if nothing else worked at all?