Current Mental Health – September 2019

Photo by VisualHunt

This post is a week late. Oops.

My mental health has actually been good this past month! I’ve been really active, doing more stuff like volunteering once a week, and physical therapy (for my right shoulder) twice a week.

Sometimes I didn’t follow through on my weekend plans, usually dinner and/or a movie. Part of that is because it’s been gray and rainy. But also because a part of me just wants to stay indoors and not leave my house. I don’t think I’m depressed, and I resolve to keep all of my plans this month.

In fact, we went to a nearby apple festival this past Saturday. I’d been looking forward to it because a candy shop I frequent was selling their caramel apples there, which they only make this time of year. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the reality was bad. It was so crowded, with people shuffling in different directions all at once. I was afraid we’d get separated (we also brought our dog), or that Rudy would get into a scrap with another dog (he didn’t). We stayed maybe 15 minutes, just enough time to find the candy booth and buy some caramel apples. Thankfully, the candy booth was near an entrance so we were able to leave the crowd quickly. We may have left early, but at least we showed up — and survived — so that’s pretty good.

My sleep has improved, I’m now only waking up once a night, like around 4ish. I then move to the sofa and I’m out again til about 7 or 8am.

The shakes haven’t been resolved, but I emailed my psychiatrist today. He said he will put me on a very low dose of Klonopin to — if not make them stop, then at least continue to minimize them. I’ll still be taking propranolol for that, too. I’ll let you know if it works next month.


Do you avoid crowded events/areas? Let me know in the comments!

Current Mental Health – July 2019

doll-toy-sleep-good-night-moon-child
Photo on Visual Hunt

Hi, all! Here’s the past month’s rundown on my mental health/life.

Mood has improved over the past month, and is certainly much better than it was in June. My husband asked me if I’m at 100%, but I’m not sure. I don’t, however, feel that I’m falling into a depression, so that’s good.

Sleep has improved, thanks to the higher dose of trazodone that my psychiatrist put me on. It’s only a 25mg increase, but it’s doing the trick. I still wake up once or twice in the middle of the night, but I’m able to fall back asleep immediately instead of being wide awake. The only problem is that I’m still really tired when I wake up, and end up falling asleep for 2 more hours. Hopefully, as I get used to this increase, that tiredness will go away.

I got a new, smaller, more compact pill organizer. Each day’s organizer has 4 compartments, and so did my old one, but this one can be confusing. Instead of taking the Dinner medication at dinner, I took the Bedtime medication, which includes my trazodone! I didn’t even figure it out until bed time! No wonder I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open around dinner time lol!! 😂🤣😂

I turned 50! We spent a long weekend in Madison, Wisconsin for my birthday. I thought I would dread turning 50, but I actually looked forward to it. It’s like now, the second half of my life is beginning. I can, hopefully, forget/let go of the past.

Briefly tempted to jump off the balcony in Madison. Wasn’t at all having suicidal thoughts prior to stepping out on the balcony, nor when the thought of jumping struck me. Can anyone relate?

Showering is getting easier. I may actually start showering every other day, with the goal of showering every day. Hey, we all need goals, right?


How was your July? Please share!

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?

 

Morning Person or Night Owl?

close up photo of coffee cup
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

These days, I’m more of a morning person, but it’s kind of due to the insomnia I’m experiencing. I wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, and often, that’s it — I’m up. So I just go about my day and try not to take a nap.

Sometimes, not often, I stay up until 1 or 2am. I figure that the later I go to bed, the later I’ll wake up. Normally I would go to bed at 10pm. But if I do that, I wake up at 11pm or 12am. And then I’d worry whether I could fall back asleep or not. Usually I do, but with a lot of tossing and turning and pulling the covers back to my side.

Thirty years ago I might have called myself a night owl. I worked in bars, so I was up all night and didn’t go to bed until the morning. I tried to fall asleep before the birds started chirping, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to sleep at all. I’d just be lying there, staring at the ceiling, with the sunshine peeking through the blinds and the birds singing their songs.


How about you? Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Insomnia

Photo provided by author

I have had what the professionals call “sleep disturbances” for a little over a year now. I can fall asleep just fine, probably thanks to trazodone, but I can’t stay asleep and when I do wake up (the first, second, or third time) I have a tough time falling back asleep, though I do eventually. For maybe an hour.

My bedtime has changed from 10 pm to around 11. I’m afraid that if I go to bed earlier, I’ll wake up that much earlier (at say 11pm or midnight). When I go to bed later, I don’t wake up until 2 or 3 am.

If I get up at 2, I might take a Benadryl to help me fall back asleep (my psychiatrist suggested this). Unfortunately, I always forget to do it. And 3 am is too late to take it because then I might oversleep.

So at 3, I just get up and go to the living room, where I check social media, crochet, or read. As I said, I fall asleep for an hour, wake up around 5 am, maybe fall back asleep, and then awaken at 7.

I take melatonin at night along with my trazodone, and it helps some. However, I hesitate to take Ambien, which my doctor has mentioned. For one thing, I was on it a long time ago and it didn’t work. Second, he and I want to delay being prescribed yet another prescription medication as opposed to over-the-counter.

My sleep hygiene is not in perfect shape, but I try. I’m thinking of taking Ambien because I’m getting desperate. Our bodies change over time, and maybe mine has changed enough for Ambien to work. I don’t want to be on another medication, but the sleep disruptions are taking its toll.


Do you experience insomnia? What remedies do you use to combat it?