Monday, July 21, 2014

A Year.

It's been nearly a year since I wrote my last post. A year. Wow. I read back on my last couple of posts, just to see where my head was and how things were going. I know that sometimes, a year feels like it's gone by in the blink of an eye; that wasn't the case for me. Not this year, at least. The last year felt like it lasted a lifetime.

I think it's only fair to let you know what's been going on for me. I don't want this to go on too long though, so it will be very "point form".

Things continued to go downhill for me, both at work and at home. My mental health was at an all-time low and my medications weren't helping the way they were supposed to. I felt numb and over-medicated but still sad. I regularly imagined falling down stairs or sticking my arm out in front of a bus. Just enough to get me into a hospital and out of whatever situation I found myself in.

In October I went to Edmonton to visit my brother and his wife. My son came with me but my husband stayed home to work and take care of the dogs, etc. The first weekend we spent in Jasper and it was AMAZING. Gorgeous weather, beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife. I could have spent my entire vacation there. While it was really nice to see my brother, the rest of the trip was no holiday! My son was sick (and got everyone else sick) and needy and whiny. We had no real means of transportation and had to figure out the bus system pretty quickly. Next time there will be some changes: a) I'm renting a car, b) Either my husband is coming with me, or my son is staying home, and c) More time in the mountains.

By the time I was back from my holidays things at work had become dire. I wasn't coming in to work on time, I wasn't really doing my job, I just didn't care anymore. If I could get away with it, I would have just stayed in bed all day every day.

Here's the worst part though; I've been dealing with anxiety and depression for a long time, but I had never been suicidal. I'd thought about ways to hurt myself, but never wanted to die. I'd never cut or performed any other kind of self-harm. By mid-November, that wasn't the case anymore. I thought about driving off the highway head-first into a tree. I really truly felt like the only way to get rid of the darkness was to completely remove myself from the picture. Thankfully, it never came to that. I always got home and snuggled with my son, my husband and my pets. I knew that nothing was worth causing that much pain to someone you love and who loves you. My family saved me, and I hope that they know that.

Skipping ahead a bit, I wound up going off work for nearly three months. I met with my doctor regularly and we got my medication under control. I also started seeing a psychologist whom I still see at least once a month.

I've been back to work since mid-February. For the most part I've been alright, but there are still some pretty big wrinkles that need ironing out. Things have been slipping a bit at work over the past month or so, but I'm aware of it this time and I'm trying to be proactive.

That's my (not so little) update. I'm back to being me, so I'll be posting a lot more regularly again.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Fresh Start. Fresh Goals.

So I've been avoiding my blog for a while. Not forgetting. Avoiding.

The past few months have really been a roller coaster for me, emotionally that is. Generally I've been doing well, but I've also been doing some self-exploration. Trying to figure out what my goals are over the next few months/years. I'm not going to lie, I still have no idea really. Of course I have some goals, but I'm more or less taking things on as they come.

In order to get a bit more out of myself, I've decided that I'm going to try to come up with one or two small goals every month. For August: lose 5 lbs. Rather than telling myself I need to lose a staggering amount of weight, I'm going to work on smaller amounts. In order to achieve this goal I have a second goal: cut back on carbonated drinks, i.e. Pepsi [insert tears here].

Anywho, I'll try to keep you guys updated throughout the weeks, months, etc. At the end of each post I'm going to post the goal(s) I'm working on and my progress (if applicable). Please feel free to post encouraging comments since I could really use the help and motivation!

G1: Lose 5 lbs - I guess I'm going to have to weigh myself tonight.
G2: Cut down on carbonated drinks - I am going to try to make it through my afternoon on water instead of my usual Pepsi.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Under Attack!

So yesterday I had my first anxiety attack in years! It's frustrating because I thought I had gotten past this, but I guess it never really goes away.

It's been a very quiet week at work, so I've been spending too much time staring at my computer waiting for an e-mail to pop into my inbox. As I was sitting, staring at my computer I started feeling increasingly claustrophobic. It was like all the things on my desk were crowding in around me. It was terrifying.

Needless to say I had to get away from my desk for a while, so I went to the kitchen. The kitchen at work isn't very well organized; there are plates and bowls and cups and glasses in all the different cupboards and most of them don't match. Also, our "coffee" cupboard where we keep the coffee, tea, sugar, etc. was overflowing with crap. We had enough stir-sticks in that cupboard to last us 10 years. Obviously, my claustrophobia wasn't getting any better in here.

So, what did I do?

I cleaned out the coffee cupboard. I took out every last packet of sugar and stir stick. All the loose tea bags, straws, cups, etc. and I reorganized the whole thing. It looks so much better now and the feeling of organizing something really helped me to calm down.

I also threw out about half the stir-sticks because, frankly, no one needs that many stir-sticks. Nobody.

When I came back from my desk I was still feeling like everything was very cluttered, so I reorganized my desk too.

Good thing it's been a quiet week!

UPDATE: I spoke with my Social Worker about the episode and she told me that it was more likely a panic attack than an anxiety attack. Apparently the difference is that an anxiety attack is usually the result of a build-up of anxiety, while a panic attack comes out of nowhere. Either way, we worked through it and I feel confident that I handled it really well!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Motivation, Why Do You Evade Me So?

So this morning I got to sleep in; and by sleep in I mean that I got up at 6:15 instead of 5:30 - woo freaking hoo! Anyway, that 45 minutes still did me a world of good. I was in a great mood when I got up and I actually had some energy this morning.

Well, throughout the day it's like my motivation has been in an hourglass, slowly trickling away. Needless to say that now, at 2:41 pm, my motivation has pretty much run out. I know it's Friday and for some reason this has been a really long week, but why is it that I can't just be productive for a full 12 hours? I would even settle for 10 hours...enough to get me through the work day.

Today has been a good day in that nothing bad has happened. Nothing fantastic has happened either, but I'm fine with that, really.

Let's see. It's 2:42 pm now... That means I have 1 hour and 47 minutes left until I get to leave.

I can do it. Right?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Merry Go Round

There's a new country song that I've been listening to a lot lately. I feel like I can really connect with it, sometimes I feel just the way the narrator feels in the song. Here are the lyrics, I've bolded the lines that I can relate to.
Merry Go Round
By Kacey Musgraves
If you ain't got two kids by 21,
You're probably gonna die alone
At least that's what tradition told you.

And it don't matter if you don't believe,
Come Sunday morning you best be there
In the front row, like you're s'posed to.

Same hurt in every heart.
Same trailer, different park.

Mamas hooked on Mary Kay
Brothers hooked on Mary Jane
And Daddy's hooked on Mary two doors down.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go 'round and 'round and 'round we go,
Where it stops nobody knows...
And it ain't slowin' down, this merry go 'round...

We think the first time's good enough,
So we hold on to high school love,

Say we won't end up like our parents.

Tiny little boxes in a row,
Ain't what you want it's what you know,
Just happy in the shoes you're wearin'.

Same checks we're always cashin',
To buy a little more distraction.

Cause Mamas hooked on Mary Kay
Brothers hooked on Mary Jane
Daddys hooked on Mary two doors down.

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We get bored so we get married
And just like dust we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go 'round and 'round and 'round we go,
Where we stop nobody knows...
And it ain't slowin' down, this merry go 'round...

Mary Mary quite contrary,
We're so bored until we're buried.
And just like dust we settle in this town.
On this broken merry go 'round...
Merry go 'round...

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
Jack burned out on booze and pills,
And Mary had a little lamb,
Mary just don't give a damn no more.
So I'd like to point out the obvious: this is not a happy song. Just because I can relate to the lyrics does not mean that I always feel that way.

For example, the lyric "We think the first time's good enough / So we hold on to high school love". Yes, I married my high school sweetheart. Yes, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have been with someone else. That doesn't mean that I love him any less or that I'm going to cheat or anything like that. I just like the lyric because it's true. We find something good and we hold on to it. Does that make it a bad thing? Does it mean I'm a coward for not looking elsewhere and risking losing the good thing I've already found?

As far as "Mary just don't give a damn no more", well, I know I'm not the only one who feels like this at one point or another! That's just part of life.

How about you, dear reader, any songs you're connecting with lately?

My Life as a Hermit

I've recently realized that I am turning into a bit of a hermit.

This past weekend I went to a meet-the-baby shower for a friend and it was the first time I'd gone out to see someone I wasn't related to since mid-November! Two months without seeing any friends; that simply isn't normal, especially for me. On top of that, when I was at the shower I mostly kept to myself. Of course, I visited and chatted with the new mom and her sister, but I actually had two people (both strangers) invite me to join their group because I was sitting by myself.

I don't know why I'm doing this to myself lately, but it is happening everywhere. No matter where I am I don't really feel like part of the group; I am an outsider.

I'm sure that my mind is just fabricating these thoughts based on how I've been feeling lately - lots of ups and downs, but it is still frustrating to feel that way.

My goal for the next few weeks is to get out of my house and be more social. Even if I don't feel like it.

So, anyone want to hang out?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2013 So Far

Well, 2013 has started off to be a pretty good year for me. Nothing fabulous has happened, but nothing terrible either. I've felt better than I have in months and I'm looking forward to the months to come!

Last fall I participated in a 14-week anxiety management program through a local organization (ADAO). Although my main issue is depression, taking this course still gave me a bunch of new tools to deal with stress and anxiety on a day-to-day basis. We all have anxiety, it's a normal and healthy part of life - it's just how much anxiety you get and how you deal with it that can cause problems.

One of the tools we learned about in the program was Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). While I will admit that at first I didn't really understand it, it is something that I am really looking forward to using more in my day-to-day life. My doctor actually referred me to a Social Worker who specializes in CBT and I met her for the first time this week. We went through my history (again) and she gave me a much broader explanation of what CBT is and how it works. Once I get a better grasp of it maybe I'll blog about it in more detail later.

Anyway, I'm hopeful that this year will be better than the last and that I will be able to maintain my good mood, for a few more months at least!