Moving to realismbitesback.blogspot.com

Moving to realismbitesback.blogspot.com

I haven’t blogged in so long that when I finally did the other day I made a decision to ditch WordPress. I haven’t had a ton of problems with it, it’s just too robust for me. I don’t make use of the features, I just want to write and post and I don’t need anything fancy to do that so I’ve exported the posts from this site to realismbitesback.blogspot.com. My goal is, once the transition is complete, to use realismbites.com as my blogger domain name but I haven’t looked into it yet. Just happy to be blogging again.

Sleep, Diet, and Exercise

Sleep, Diet, and Exercise

I’m sorry for posting from my phone all day I know it isn’t as pretty. This is going to be a micro post based on something I just tweeted that I wanted to elaborate on.

It’s widely known that healthy and regular sleep, diet, and exercise helps depression. What is unfair is when you’re depressed those are the three things that are most difficult to control.

I tried to get on a sleep schedule but I just laid in the dark for an hour and a half. I even journaled before bed and put away the screens an hour before. I can’t sleep and I know this will lead to me napping quite a bit tomorrow.

I don’t want to eat anything. The thought makes me nauseous. I can however drink lattes and eat the occasional donut so I guess it is more like I don’t want to eat anything that I don’t LOVE. I’ve been forcing myself to drink carnation instant breakfast, oatmeal, and cereal but that’s about it.

Exercise is a weird one for me. You see I love exercise. I feel great going, exercising, and I’m happy when I leave. I feel productive. I think the reason I’m not doing the thing I love is because I’m not getting decent sleep and because my diet is crappy so I’m extremely fatigued.

I guess my point here is this is like a catch 22 you could do all these things that would help you manage your depression but only if you weren’t depressed. See? It’s frustrating. Needless to say I am going to continue trying to work on these areas of my life but I know it is not going to be a piece of cake.

Wish me luck and let me know your thoughts on this issue. I love comments! I hope this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

Partial Hospitalization Eval (after)

Partial Hospitalization Eval (after)

So I got there and had to fill out a ton of paperwork, of course, then I met with my clinician. She was very nice and understanding. We went over my history, both mental and medical. I told her about all the trauma I’ve been through, I told her I’ve been having increased panic attacks and sleeping all day. I told her about my low self esteem and my negative self talk. I did not however tell her about my issues with hygiene which is my most troubling issue.

I also told her about something I haven’t talked about here. Something I’m not entirely proud of. I was in a mental hospital before ages ago because I was hallucinating. I was only there for a night and then I did partial hospitalization for a day and then stopped. The reason I am not proud of this is, I was not hallucinating, I was hypomanic and decided I wanted to write a book about mental health but had never been in a hospital so how could I? I needed to experience it. I took up a bed for no reason. I feel terrible about it now but in the moment it made perfect sense. I hope anyone who has needed a bed and had trouble getting one can forgive me.

Other than me talking about my medication, history, symptoms, family, etc. she told me about the program. There is to be no drinking or drug use during the length of the program, even at night. That won’t be a problem for me thankfully. She asked for emergency contacts and if I get agressive I said no I can get irritable and even angry but I’ve never been violent in any way.

She then showed me the schedule of groups which I am very excited for. Tomorrow is my first day and there is a self esteem group and a distress tolerance group that I’m really looking forward to. Monday is managing mood disorders and health and wellness. Tuesday I’m interested in emotion regulation and mindfulness. Wednesday doesn’t seem to apply to me too much other than the processing emotions group. Thursday there are managing anxiety and stress, interpersonal effectiveness (could be interesting?), and stinkin’ thinkin’ which is all about quitting the negative self talk.

I’m excited for so many of these groups and to see the psychiatrist to work on my meds. They are not working, something’s got to give. My regular therapist went through all my med notes and noticed that my depression started in July which was when I got sick but it was also when I switched to Welbutrin. Maybe Welbutrin just isn’t for me. I’d love to get off it and see if I feel better (with Doctor’s orders of course).

Last but not least we set up a family appt for me and my boyfriend. It’ll be psychoeducation for him and also how he can help when I am just starting to get depressed and don’t know it yet and how he can help when I’m in such a major depressive episode.

I’m still a little anxious but I’m also very excited. I think this will really help. I hope this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

Partial Hospitalization Eval (Before)

Partial Hospitalization Eval (Before)

I’m writing this on my phone because my laptop is in my bedroom and my boyfriend is asleep in there. If you follow me on Twitter @realismbites you probably already know that I am starting partial hospitalization today, well the eval is today anyway. I am/was very optimistic about this. Then my depressed negative brain got to me. Making me think, “this is my last resort, what if it doesn’t help?”

I know logically stressing about what ifs is foolish but it didn’t stop the terrible panic attack from coming. So bad that two Xanax, my gold standard anxiety relief pill, couldn’t help me to breathe. I ended up having to sleep it off which isn’t easy to do with palpitations and trouble breathing. I spoke with my boyfriend, a friend, and my Sisters about it and they all agreed; it could work, don’t worry about what ifs, and this couldn’t be the last resort.

It should have calmed me down logically I knew they were right but the panic still bugged me as I tried to get to sleep. The moment finally came, I made it to la la land and woke up a few hours later feeling much better. I’m not sure why my Xanax didn’t help, maybe because the panic attack started in Target and I didn’t take it until it was in full swing 20 minutes later. I really need to keep some in my purse.

Either way I am feeling a bit more positive this morning. I just finished breakfast and I’m going to be leaving soon to learn all about the program. From what I understand they tweak your meds to find the right mix for you, there is a lot of group therapy, individual therapy, and worksheets/activity. I’m bad at doing homework for my mental health but having to finish in that setting I can handle.

Wish me luck. I’ll write more later to let you all know how the evaluation went.

Have you ever been in a partial hospitalization program? Did it work for you? Please let me know in the comments. I hope this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

How do I Flip the Switch?

How do I Flip the Switch?

  
I’m awake at 1:39 am because I was in bed until about 1:39 pm yesterday. My depression is getting worse and my avoidance is off the charts. I started thinking maybe getting out of this major depression is like quitting smoking; you can try and try to quit but you won’t be able to until a switch is flipped in your brain. I think that is how I’ll end up getting out of my depression, one day the switch will flip and I’ll be better but how do I make that happen?

I’ve tried healthy habits, I go to therapy every week, I take my medsevery day (with some exceptions or delays), I’m doing the yoga training to try to breathe my way out of it, I’ve tried reiki, I’ve tried writing my way out of it, and reasoning my way out of it. All to no avail. I realized today that yeah I go to therapy and yoga training but I never do the homework. Why? Is it my ADD making it difficult to complete assignments or am I self-sabotaging?

I’m a master self-saboteur. I’ve been doing it my whole life. I just don’t realize I’m doing it until after the fact or when things have gotten really out of hand. I think to flip the switch I need to determine why I am doing it.

I am anxious about looking for a new job, I am anxious about whether I’m ready and able to return to work, I am worried that my mental illnesses will screw up my new job (whatever that may be), I’m worried I’ll have to settle for a job that I hate, I’m worried that I’ll have to settle for less money, I’m worried that I won’t be able to work and go to school, I’m worried that I won’t have time to work out once I get a job (not like I’m doing that now), I’m just scared of moving forward I think.

So how do I overcome that fear? I suppose I can answer all of those fears with a positive/realistic counter argument. Looking for a new job won’t be so bad, it’s just a matter of searching the Internet which I do all the time anyways. My therapist will help me decide when I’m ready to return to work. I will get the right combination of medications before returning to work so I will be able to work despite depression or hypomania. I won’t settle for a job I hate. I won’t settle for less money. I will be able to work and go to school just like I did when I worked in Boston (and I got all A’s then). I will make time to workout going back to work will help me be more productive thanks to the new routine. Moving forward will help so much, I need to get off the couch and into a new office.

I don’t know if recognizing what is holding me back will help flip the switch but, I’ve got my fingers crossed. I hope this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

My life is this out of control

My life is this out of control

  
That is a picture of my actual living room. I am incredibly embarrassed by the state it is in but, how else can I demonstrate how out of control my life is? Notice all of the take out bags and containers, a meal hasn’t been cooked in this house in a long time unless you consider Kraft Mac & Cheese or Lean Cuisines meals. We only eat at this table by the way because the dining room has turned into a storage room. I have 3 baskets of clean laundry I haven’t put away so my dirty laundry is piling up on the floor (because all of the baskets are occupied). So we can all agree my home is a crazy mess, right?

Well it doesn’t stop there. I have fallen off the healthy habit wagon hard. I’m skipping meds and spending all day in bed doing nothing. I spend some time on Twitter but nothing else. Not important things or fun things. I barely eat and I hardly ever shower. Brushing my teeth has gone out the window as well. I’m writing this post from my phone because I don’t have the energy to get up to get my laptop. I’m not sure how things have gotten so dramatically bad so fast but there has to be a bottom right?

Lately I have been trying to get over my Mother’s guilt. I’m a Mother that raised her kids on her own while dealing with multiple mental illnesses and I wasn’t able to give them the childhoods they deserved or that I planned for them. My therapist keeps telling me it isn’t my fault I did the best that I could with what I had and I’m trying to convince myself of that. I’m writing my children letters to explain my illnesses and to apologize for things they missed out on or that I overlooked because of my illnesses. My son’s was easy and he took it well, he told me it was emotional and even said I love you which he hasn’t said since he turned 16. My daughter’s on the other hand is going to be a novel and I’m terrified to write it. She had a lot of issues that I didn’t deal with or that I was in denial about. I think my brain couldn’t handle dealing with it all and staying employed and somewhat responsible despite suffering from bipolar II, anxiety, ADD, and PTSD.

I’m not writing these letters to earn their forgiveness, though that would be a nice outcome, I’m writing them to tell them that they were never a burden to me and to apologize if I ever made them feel that way and that even if I didn’t say it at the time I was sorry for missed opportunities and that I wasn’t a better mother. That I really wanted to be a better mother and that I plan to do so from now on.

I think getting that out there, letting them know I didn’t willfully decide my son couldn’t play sports and I didn’t ignore my daughter’s trouble in school because I didn’t care, both of those examples kept me up at night and still do sometimes. I hope that once I’ve apologized to them I may be able to forgive myself. I was going through a lot internally and externally during their childhoods. I have to be able to recognize how awesome they turned out and believe that as much as I wish I’d been able to live up to my own ideals, I did a pretty good job.

Along with my Mother’s guilt overwhelming me I had Long Term Disability through my ex employer state that at 10 months I need to file for Social Security Disability. I’ve never been a very reliable employee, I’m out often due to severe depression so maybe it makes sense but, I don’t want to give up on my career path. Maybe hating my jobs has fed into or worsened my depression. Maybe when I get a job I love I’ll be less depressed. Finding a job is so scary though. I’m still in can’t get out of bed level depression. Despite my fears that I’m not yet able to hold a job I am working toward it. Thursday I am going shopping for a new suit with my bestie. I’m also looking into volunteer opportunities to get me ready to head back into the working world.

I suppose I’m looking at my situation pessimistically as I usually do. I am doing work to get over my intense mother’s guilt, I’m doing work to get back to work. Those are things I should be proud of but I can’t help thinking of all of the other things waiting to be done. I hope to get to an optimistic mindset soon. I also hope that this post finds you well or on your way to wellness.

BuzzFeed Kinda Nails Mental Illness

BuzzFeed Kinda Nails Mental Illness

BuzzFeed Kinda Nails Mental Illness (1)

I know that sounds ridiculous, it’s BuzzFeed they are a silly internet content provider but, sometimes they do some wonderful things. I mean not just relating to mental illness either but, that is the focus of this post. I’m going to share some of the most helpful or accurate things I’ve found on mental health from BuzzFeed. Enjoy.

Can You Navigate A Day With Depression?
This is a choose your own adventure style article/post that really hits the nail on the head when it comes to depression. I remember going through this and thinking, “I’m not the only one who wears dirty clothes! That’s a depression thing!” I’ve definitely tweeted this before because I find it incredibly accurate and it helped me feel less alone.

Here’s What No One Tells You About Having Both Depression And Anxiety
This is another one I have definitely tweeted before. It really gets me. I felt all of the YES reading this. (I know that sentence isn’t grammatically correct but, you know what I mean. I myself have been isolating myself from people but, feel lonely. It is a completely ridiculous thing. I could stop isolating and then I’d stop being lonely but, I want to be alone…but I don’t want to feel alone. It’s very complicated and this nails that contradiction and many others I can relate to.

If We Spoke Honestly About Mental Health
This listicle (an article that’s really just a list) is exactly what I see all day every day on the Twitter community I’ve found. People with mental health issues or advocates are always talking about how mental illness is treated or mistreated and this is just a nice succinct summation of all of the problems we have with stigmas or public misconceptions about mental illness.

If Depression Were A Monster
This video shows life with depression but, with depression depicted as a monster that is constantly with you and getting in your way and stopping you from eating and stopping you from working and almost all of the things depression can do to you. It’s an interesting, kind of quirky take on it but, it makes sense.

People Open Up About Why They Take Medication For Their Mental Health
This video has people who take or have taken medication discussing why they take it and crushing the myths about medication. Medication isn’t for everyone but, if it works for you, take it and don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks.

31 Books That Will Help You Better Understand Mental Illness And Disorders
I like to read and while I haven’t read any of the books on this list I can recommend the one I did read about ADD, Driven to Distraction which is surprisingly not on this list. I remember reading it and going, “OMG, I don’t suck!” I mean you know how it feels to be depressed or anxious but, reading a book or two about your own mental illness may help you realize that that annoying thing you do that you think is a personality trait is actually part of your disorder that just didn’t make it to the main symptoms list on WebMD.

I hope that these links help in some way either in helping you feel less alone or knowing we aren’t the only ones working to end stigma.

Why I Have PTSD: part II

Why I Have PTSD: part II

PTSD 2 2

I’m not new to the severe depression that comes with my bipolar II disorder. At the end of 2008 I had a breakdown of sorts after a particularly long hypomanic bender. I had decided that we needed to recycle everything we could and only buy food that came in recyclable containers and that we should eat as naturally as possible. There was no junk food in the house at all for months. I was really committed to it and then when it became too much to keep up with I got incredibly depressed. This is usually the pattern; I try to heal the World and when I realize I can’t I fall into a deep depression.

I took a leave of absence from work and was on short term disability for months. Finally I started feeling better in February of 2009. I had started a new medication that seemed to be really helping. I was almost ready to go back to work. On February 27, 2009 I met with my therapist and had a really good session. I felt so good about it that I decided I would take a walk at the nearby nature trails. I drove there and found that while it was a warm day it was still too icy to take a walk. So I left. I drove out of the parking lot and headed home feeling optimistic and almost ready to return to work and then it hit me.

No I’m not talking an epiphany, I mean a car literally hit me. The driver crossed over the yellow lines and hit me head on. I had been traveling at about 45 mph. I unfortunately (well fortunately for my health but unfortunately for my sanity) did not lose consciousness so I remember everything. It was about 10am or so and the road was very busy. I had good Samaritans rushing to the car to see if they could call anyone for me. I had them call my boyfriend and I think my parents. I was just sitting there in shock for a moment not feeling the pain yet and then I tried to move my legs and I couldn’t. It wasn’t that I couldn’t feel them it was that they weren’t doing what I told them to do. Let me tell you losing control of your limbs is one of the scariest things you can ever experience. That and it hurt immensely. Read more