Current Mental Health – September 2019

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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!

Fun Fact: I Can’t Swim

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Photo credit: dutruong.t733 on VisualHunt / CC BY

My dad threw me in a swimming pool when I was 7. He thought that I would immediately learn to swim in order to save myself. Well, I didn’t. I sank slowly to the bottom. My dad pulled me out of the pool.

I never was angry with him for doing this, probably because I was terrified of the water — chlorinated water got into my nose and mouth and eyes. (I had forgotten to close them!) The chlorine tasted gross, and I felt like I was disappointing my father. All of his friends were at the pool, too, and witnessed what happened. Before tossing me in, he seemed so sure that it would work. Well, I proved him wrong!

When I was 10 years old, my mom had the bright idea of signing me up for swimming lessons. I wasn’t looking forward to it. I thought it would be another opportunity for me to fail, and I was right. The first thing the instructor taught us was how to float. I couldn’t float then, and I can’t float now. You have no idea how many times I tried floating in the pool and my feet remained planted to the bottom. I couldn’t figure out how people could go from a standing position to lying on their backs practically above the water!

My parents gave up after that, and I decided that I don’t need to know how to swim even if it saved my life. But it could save my life, like if I fail out of a touristy boat or something else that I happen to be riding.

As an adult, I’ve looked into swimming lessons, most of which are for kids. There are a few adult swim classes out there. However, I just can’t stand the thought of anyone seeing me in a bathing suit. And I don’t like getting water in my ears, and anyway, I’d have to remove my hearing aids because they aren’t supposed to get wet, but then how would I hear the instructor?

So I have decided not to learn to swim. I mean, there are flotation devices on those boats, aren’t there?


How did you learn to swim? Or did you?

Self-Care: Chiropractic Care

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Photo credit: wu_135 on VisualHunt / CC BY

My lower (and sometimes upper) back is killing me. It has been since sometime last year or maybe last autumn. I can’t remember.

At first I attributed this to sleeping on the couch which I did almost every night because of my insomnia. Then I thought it was because of the bed.

For weeks now (that I remember), I’ve been waking up in bed in a huge amount of pain. Sometimes the pain even wakes me up. I finally decided to take care of myself and saw a chiropractor. I’d seen one in the past, but then she moved away and I never looked for another chiropractor.

So last Saturday, after my new chiropractor checked out my spine by having me do range-of-motion-type (I think that’s what it’s called) stuff like squatting and walking, it seems that my back is seriously fucked up. He went through all the different stuff that isn’t as it should be (he was very informative; unfortunately, my poor cognition doesn’t allow me to remember much). I have mild scoliosis (a curve in the spine) and my core needs work. *groan* When he said that, all I could think of was having to do a bunch of lower abs exercise. Yuck!

After having gone to physical therapy where they give you different (stretching) exercises as “homework,” how could I have thought that I wouldn’t get homework from the chiropractor? Especially one who is also a physical therapist! Luckily, it’s only one exercise and it’s not v-sits. (Yet.) I’m to lie on my back with my legs in the air like a baby, and practice breathing from my diaphragm. Not as easy as it sounds, but doable.


Have you ever been treated by a chiropractor? What are your thoughts?

No More Electronics

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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?

3 Things to Do More Often

I have a lot of bad habits, but I’m trying to establish good ones. Here are some things that I can do more often:

  1. EXERCISE: Well, I exercise nearly every single day by walking on the treadmill and doing one exercise, like jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, lunges, or squats. The former, I do for 10 minutes. The latter, according to that particular fitness challenge, I’m supposed to do 3 of the above exercises a day. I only do one because I can’t do all 3 one after the other yet.
    I can’t walk for more than 10 minutes because it is so frickin’ boring, even though I always read a book — which helps. Plus, it’s challenging for me right now. I went from doing zero exercises to what I do today. I can increase the length of time or the speed in which I walk, slowly. I feel that I can increase the exercises, but in very small increments. My therapist says that any movement is good.
  2. DIET: I feel that I can eat better than I do, like eat more salads because they aren’t as calorie dense as say, a cheese quesadilla. The problem is I don’t like salads. It’s not that I don’t like vegetables — I hate trying to spear the pieces of lettuce with my fork. It’s unsatisfying not to get a nice mouthful of food. I do occasionally eat — and enjoy eating — a salad, and I can choose salad more often when we eat out.
  3. READ: I haven’t been reading anywhere near as much as I used to. Part of the reason is I don’t have enough time. Another is because the last few books I read have bored me.
    I’m currently reading Educated by Tara Westover. It’s a memoir about how the author grew up in a survivalist family. That is, the dad was convinced that the End of Days were near and made sure his family would be protected. He also didn’t believe in the government, so some of the kids didn’t have birth certificates or drivers licenses.
    It’s interesting and I like it so far. But it’s not the kind of book I can’t put down and finish in a day.

So these are 3 areas of my life that I want to improve: slowly increase the number of exercises that I do; eat more salads/make healthier food choices; and make time to read every day, not just while I’m on the treadmill.


Is there anything you would like to improve?