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.

Ketamine Infusion

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Photo on VisualHunt

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?

Being Not Depressed

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Photo on Visual Hunt

It’s been so long since I’ve been at baseline or, “normal,” that I actually forgot what it’s like to be myself. I lost my sense of self in the heavy blanket of depression, and I know this because recently, I came to the realization that I’m not depressed. That the lithium is working. I was surprised because I hadn’t felt this way in so long.

I definitely feel different. The heaviness is gone, I have more energy, I’m more active, my mood is better. However, I don’t feel happy. I’m not unhappy. But I always thought the opposite of “depression” is “happiness.” It’s not in my case. I feel sort of neutral. I feel content. Maybe that’s how I’m supposed to feel.

Also, it seems that I don’t have anything to discuss with my therapist. There are gaps in our conversations because I’m at a loss for words, until she asks a question. I have nothing that I need to process, and I guess that’s a good thing.

How do you feel after coming out of a depressive episode?

Done with PHP/IOP

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Photo credit: Nick Kenrick.. on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

As of yesterday, I am officially done with the partial hospitalization program/intensive outpatient program (PHP/IOP) I went to for approximately 7 weeks. Though I completed all of the paperwork, I wasn’t actually discharged — I discharged myself.

I made the decision to discontinue going to Group about a week ago, though I’d been wanting to leave since May. I couldn’t stand the format, and I felt that I was being badgered by the therapists. If I missed a day, for example, they would call me — sometimes several times — to persuade me to come in. It was intrusive. I just wanted them to leave me alone. Even after I told them (via phone) that I was leaving the program, they urged me to go to Group several times.

I won’t deny that I got better while in PHP (and my one week of IOP). It kept me busy. I had someplace to go every day, even if I didn’t like it. And I did learn skills that will help me during times of distress. It was just a bad fit.

Now that I’ve got all this free time, I have to find other things to do so I don’t sit around at home all day. To start, I’m thinking a yoga class on Mondays and martial arts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’m terrified of going to these classes, but I have to for my well-being.

Putty as Stress Ball

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Photo provided by author

I remember kneading rehab putty in my left hand for exercise when I went to physical therapy last fall. I’ve always liked putty, and play with the mini-tins at my psychiatrist’s office. When my husband and I were in Michigan, I bought a tin of Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. No, they aren’t paying me to write this. Although the kind of Thinking Putties my doctor has have cool colors, that’s it — they’re pretty, but they don’t do anything else.

The type I bought, which is called Foxfire under the Phantoms effects, is luminescent. You can write on or draw designs with a UV light that’s included and the writing glows in the dark! I wish the picture below wasn’t so blurry, but that’s all my camera would allow me to take. Oh, and Thinking Putty bounces! I play with it from time to time when I’m feeling particularly anxious.

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Photo provided by author

Putty is better than the stress ball, not just for the special effects, but because you can pull it, twist it, mold it into different shapes, or simply knead it. On the other hand, when I’m away from home, I can’t just pull out my tin and start playing with it. So my stress ball goes with me everywhere lol!

Do you use a stress ball, putty, or other object when you’re anxious?


Daily Prompt: Luminescent