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?

 

2 Ways of Living

Sand FootprintsHow to live seems to be a huge thing now, like “living intentionally” and “living your best life.” I first heard of the former sometime last year, and I just don’t understand what it means. My therapist explained it to me, but I still don’t get the concept.

People say things like, “set an intention (for the day/week/month/year).” What does that mean? According to Wikipedia, it’s living a life “based on an individual or group’s conscious attempts to live according to their values and beliefs.” Does that mean intending to do something specific that day, that aligns with your beliefs? How do you choose what the intention will be? Do you have to be accountable to somebody, or just yourself? Do you need a bullet journal? I don’t know. (By the way, that is not a dig on bullet journals.)

Then there’s “living your best life.” The first time I heard this was during my first hospitalization last year. There was a goals group in the morning, and one patient set a goal every day to “live his best life.” Basically, I think it means to live up to your potential. Personally, I thought he said this every day to make sure he had a goal to share during group. After all, the more you participate willingly, the sooner you’ll be discharged.

I guess I learned how to live my best life while writing this post by reading up on it a bit, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing it. As for my intentional life? That still needs work.


Do you live intentionally and/or your best life?

No More Electronics

SONY DSC
Photo credit: Mr.[ A7b il7oB }™.. on Visual Hunt / CC BY
Recently, my husband and I stopped using electronics and watching TV while we’re eating. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but the habits are so ingrained in us that it just happens automatically: my phone dings, I check it. If I happen to take a picture (of like, my food) while we’re eating, I immediately post it to Instagram. And then continue eating. Often while we’re having a conversation, something comes up that has to be Googled, and my husband just picks up his phone to Google it.

We have been doing well, thankfully. Sure, one of us slips up now and then, but for the most part, we’re rocking no electronics!

We began doing this because it was presented as a challenge in my weight-loss app. Who doesn’t like a challenge? Also, not using electronics during meals was part of a chapter on eating mindfully, to sort of prepare us for doing just that. Not using electronics while we eat lets us better concentrate on our food, which helps us remain in the present. It’s what mindful eating is about to me, anyway.

We’re encouraged to take a bite, chew slowly, and note the flavors, the textures, how the food feels against our mouths, what it’s like to swallow. It sounds kind of weird, but your relationship with food will change. You’ll appreciate it more. You might even eat less because you’ll feel full from eating slowly. By the way, did you know that putting your fork down after each bite helps you eat slowly?

Finally, a major point in our eating without electronics is that it allows my husband and me to have a conversation instead of vegging in front of the TV. We still eat in the living room, though, but hopefully we will eat at the table again.


Have you heard of mindful eating, or practice eating mindfully? What are your thoughts?

Working on Us, Week 2: Mental Health Challenges

bed-linen-sheets-cover-pillows-bedroom
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?

3 Things to Do Less Often

sorry
Photo credit: garycycles8 on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

The other day I posted 3 Things to Do More Often. Today I’ll examine Things to Do Less Often.

  1. APOLOGIZE: I say “I’m sorry” waaaayyyy more than I ought to, and about inconsequential things. For example, if my husband and I reach for the same item at the same time, I’ll apologize. In the car, if I don’t secure my seatbelt fast enough, the obnoxious alarm goes off, and I apologize. Out in public, if someone brushes against me and says, “Excuse me,” I apologize (and try to get over the fact that a complete stranger touched me). Well, none of these things or others like them are my fault, so why do I keep apologizing? I’m guessing it has to do with my self-esteem: it’s low. I think so little of myself that I’m willing to take the blame or claim that whatever the situation is, is my fault. I need to do this less often.
  2. PRESSURE MYSELF: I have a habit of pressuring myself to post once a day here or to my dog’s Instagram (shameless plug — follow him here! @rudy_thegoodboy). I’ll have 5 posts ready to publish in the next 5 days, but I feel that I need to write yet one more. The thought of not posting for one day makes me uneasy. Rationally, I know that I don’t have to do any of this, but in my mind it gets warped into some sort of hang-up. Not fun. I will stop pressuring myself more often.
  3. AVOIDANCE: I’m a HUGE avoider. I avoid actions/interactions because I’m scared of them. I can’t even pay for something at the check-out line without feeling anxious; I’ll step aside so my husband can pay, but he’s on to me now. I avoid answering the door when we order food and delivery arrives. The restaurants don’t always give you the total, so you only learn what it is when delivery shows up, and then I’m confused about how much to tip because I can’t do math that quickly. Plus it’s a total stranger, and you never know. I need to stop avoiding things and people.

These are just some of the habits in my life that I want to stop: apologizing needlessly; putting pressure on myself; and avoiding everyday things.


Is there anything  you need to do less often?