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I have confidence it’s confidence I lack

If the response to yesterday’s post is any indication, I’m not the only one who loves bread.   I’ve boughten more yeast, and feel like I should try again, but I don’t want to heat up the house with the oven.

Last night was rough.  I couldn’t sleep, despite being exhausted and having been awake for the previous 20 hours.  I was stressed about having lost my GPS (really?  How can I have lost the one tool I own who’s sole purpose is to help find things?) and school.  But I fixated on the GPS, even getting out of bed at 3:30 am to look for it.  I literally had a dream about looking for my GPS.

School is was really has me worried.  I was supposed to attend an orientation on Thursday, but it’s been pushed back to Monday.  I was looking into where I was supposed to go, and found a link with brief biographies of the orientation advisors.   There are eight of them.  One is my age, one is 25, and the rest are 19 or 20.

Crap.

I’m fully aware, if not really comfortable with the fact that a lot of the people I’ll be surrounded by when I go back to school will be ten years younger than me.  I’m not really happy with it, but I can live with it.  I wasn’t expecting the people helping me to get adjusted to going back to school to be ten years younger than me though.

It makes me feel old.

And I’m fully aware of all of you out there in Internetland laughing at the 29 year old woman for feeling old.

And I know that if I don’t go back to school and get my degree now, I’ll never do it–that the longer I wait, the harder it will be, and the bigger the age gap between me and the other students will be.

I guess I’m feeling like I’ve lost my twenties to depression.  I was never interested in doing all of the fun, crazy stuff that college aged kids are supposed to do.  It’s only begun to bother me recently, and I guess that’s why I get uncomfortable around young adults–I look at them, and I see all the opportunities that I missed because I couldn’t leave my room.

I know it doesn’t do anybody any good to dwell on what might have been.  Except, you know, speculative history writers.   The best I can do is to make sure I don’t lose the next ten years, or twenty, or the rest of my life to depression–I know I need to get out there and do the things that I need to do to be happy, to improve myself, and to be comfortable around other people.

I just hope I can get some sleep in the mean time.

A question arises

Is it better to express my feelings on the days when I’m depressed, or should I let sleeping dogs lie? metaphorically speaking, of course, it’s much more fun to tickle a sleeping shih tzu’s ear until he wakes up.

Don’t look at me like that.  I don’t do it often, and they sleep like 18 hours a day.

The point is, I’m having a down day.  Maybe it’s the weather.  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been sleeping because of the allergies.  Maybe I’m feeling the stress of just being me.

I know if I vent, I’ll feel better, but in venting, I would cause concern among my family and friends that may or may not be justified.

Still, something is wrong when watching a “House” marathon has me in tears.

I decided that I needed to get out of the house, and Lulu, distracted by the rain on the walk ten minutes earlier, had forgotten to pee.  As the little girl has had three “accidents” inside the house this week, I’ve decided that I really need to pay better attention when she’s acting like she needs to go out.  It’s difficult, though–Max will sit by the door and stare at me, Lulu acts the same way she does when she wants to play.  Or be cuddled.  Or be fed.  Really, she just has one way of letting me know she wants something.

I know I’ve been doing a lot of placeholder entries lately when I haven’t been skipping days entirely, and I feel bad about it.  I guess it says something about my mental state, when I can’t be witty or insightful.

You mean I actually have to do stuff?

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about depression, at least for those living with someone who suffers from it (i.e., my friends and family) is the complete and utter lack of motivation.

I want a better life, I really do, but I’m having a hard time convincing myself that doing the work required to change for the better is worth it.

This, of course, leads to a dangerous downwards spiral.  I used the metaphor on my mission of walking on a conveyor belt.  If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.  There’s no such thing as standing still.  I was talking about spiritual development, but it works just as well for personal growth as well.

Mom’s on my case to find out about school.  As well she should be.  I’d be frustrated with me if I was in her position, too.

But still, I’m old enough to have kids of my own, and still, one of my main motivations in life is not to have my mom yell at me.

I wish there was a guide, some sort of path–“if you do this, you won’t be depressed any more,” type of thing.  Unfortunately, life just doesn’t work that way.

And I’m not sure I’d have the motivation to do it, anyway.

So…what can I say about yesterday?

It’s been a rough few days.

It might be easier to start with the good news.  Soon after I came home on Monday, the girl who was interested in renting my spare room heard Max and Lulu barking at the world, and called to see if she could come and see it.  Basically, she wanted to make sure my house didn’t smell like dogs. It doesn’t.  And so, I have a new roommate, or will, at the end of the month when her current contract expires.

In lesser good news, I found a green flippy thing that originally came with a one gallon pitcher that is now dedicated to watering houseplants.  It survived a trip through the dishwasher, and my water pitcher is looking a lot less pathetic now.

So on to yesterday’s post.

I’ve been feeling unusually anxious the past couple of days.  I’m worried about money, mostly.

The strange thing is, usually, when I pinpoint the cause of my anxiety, it goes away.  Not this time.  It kept me awake for two nights, turned my stomach into knots (the parts of it that weren’t already in knots from my recent bout of what was probably food poisoning) and making it hard to concentrate.

I decided that the best thing to do was to get everything I was feeling out.  That’s the purpose of the blog, right?

Originally, I put that post on password protect so y’all could see that I wrote, without disclosing what I wrote.

That felt like cheating, though.  A big part of this blog is to explore my mental health problems, and if I can’t be open and honest with them here, where can I be?  There is solace in bearing the soul.

I didn’t want to deal with all the “you’re so wonderful, it’s going to be okay” crap, because, it really does feel like crap when you’re so down, so I turned off the comments.

After writing, I had a good cry, and decided money problems be damned, I needed ice cream or chocolate.  Preferably both.

A good cry, finally being able to sleep, and a fully stocked chocolate stash (not to mention the fact that my grocery shopping cost $5 less than I was expecting it too) means that things aren’t looking so dismal.  I’m still not happy, but I’m not thinking about hurting myself anymore, either.

Ugh.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about depression is what I call the emotional hangover–the time after I’ve been in a good mood, when things get extra hard.

It was describing these emotional hangovers to my family doctor that led him to believe that I had manic depression.  When describing these symptoms to a psychiatrist, she disagreed.  She thought that because I was happy so infrequently I didn’t know how to deal with it.  While the Lexapro has helped deal with these hangovers…

Today, besides recovering from G, I’ve been extra aware of the physical manifestation of depression.  I’ve been stuck in that annoying place between sickness and health.

Last week, I happened upon a local PBS station airing the first part of “This Emotional Life”.  I watched, fascinated, and noted when the next part would be shown, and made sure to be home so I could see it.  The first part talked about relationships, which made me cry.  The second part talks about negative emotions, which made me cry.  The third part is about positive emotions, and hopefully, it won’t make me cry.

I’m extremely interested in all things mental health, especially depression.  I was especially interested in the new therapies and research talked about throughout the program.

What really impressed me was research showing that chronic depression physically changes the brain; people with chronic depression have smaller hippocampuses (hippocamipi?) than non-depressed people.  The flip side of this is people who have received treatment for depression, whether through anti-depressants or electroconvulsive therapy have normal sized hippocampi.  Experiments with rats have shown that anti-depressants and ECT actually cause the hippocampus to regrow new cells.

I know it’s sad that the only thing I have to report on for my Friday is a TV show, I promise to do better tomorrow.  I’ve set a goal–to go to the temple grounds, at least, if not inside, and to go somewhere–the mall or Wal-Mart or somewhere like that.  Not to do any shopping, mind, but to be surrounded by people.

We’ll see how that goes.  I’m hyperventilating a little just thinking about it.

A funny thing about anti-depressants…

Crazy thing…medication works better when you actually take it!

Despite being on the Lexepro for about five months now, I’m still not used to taking a pill in the morning, and lately, I haven’t realized I forgot my medicine until well after noon–at which point taking it would severely disrupt my sleep and digestive system, so I won’t take it for that day–and when that happens for several days in a row, especally when I’m feeling an inordinate amount of external stress, well…

So, I’ve remembered my medicine enough days in a row to have gotten it built back up in my system, and while the stress is still there, it doesn’t feel overwhelming to the point where I can’t do anything.  I’m actually in a good mood today.

Sis came down to retrieve a toy that G had left at my house.  I’m afraid that kid is going to think that I’m stealing his toys–I talked to him about it, but because I used words like “besmirched” and “misaligned” I don’t know if he understood–I just remember when I was his age liking it when grown-ups talked to me like a grown up.  Sis assured me that they had had a conversation about being responsible for toys on the way down, using vocabulary more appropriate for a three year old.

One of the things that G loves to do at my house is to go with me when I take Max and Lulu for a walk.  The enjoyment of this is fully limited to those of us who only need two feet to walk.  Still, G showed Max a fire hydrant he needed to pee on (without demonstrating, thankfully) and we went to the jungle and heard a rooster.  Really–just ask G.

I was able to do some shopping with my sister–amazingly, I was able to just stick with the groceries I needed.  While wandering through the produce section, I told Sis about one of my favorite dishes–potatoes and onions sliced then boiled together, then you eat them with ketchup.

Sis laughed, and said it sounded like I was Canadian. I countered that it sounded like I was poor.  G heard this exchange and said “Mommy, be nice to your sister.”

So, for those of you following along at home, it’s not nice to call someone “Canadian”.

I’ve actually managed to get some writing done today–I think I’ve figured out how I want my main characters to meet.  Again, I’ve reached the “wait and see” stage.  I don’t know if it’s any good.

So, yeah–overall, It’s been a good day, minus the mystery smell that I can’t locate the source of.

For once, I don’t think it’s the dogs.

Knowing what I should do doesn’t make doing it any easier.

I am a spoiled and selfish girl.

What right do I have to complain?  I have a supportive family, a nice house, two dogs that love me, I’m moving forward with my life, finally.

So I’m sad a lot.  So I have to take medicine to keep me from killing myself.  What do I have to be depressed over, really?

I mean besides the fact that my brain doesn’t process chemicals correctly.

I woke up to a bit of a surprise–today, before I’d even gotten out of bed, I’d received more visits than I had for the past week.  Okay, I wasn’t expecting that one to be a big post…

I think my problem is that I am impatient.  I guess we all are.  After I wrote that post, and while in the process of crying myself to sleep last night, I remembered a scripture from the Book of Mormon that I should have been thinking about all along, specifically Ether 12:27

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

My new friend, William Wallace (FREEEEEEEDDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!  sorry, just had to get that out my system.) reminded me in the comments yesterday that I need to turn to God.  I know this.  I’ve always known this.  I know that my trials in life are those that He knows I can handle.

This is hard to remember, though when you’re feeling to agoraphobic to go to church, and to distracted and scatter-brained to study scripture.

School should help.  It’ll get me used to being around people (I’m surrounded by dogs, so I just used the word “socialized” in my head) so I’ll feel more comfortable at church.  The first little bit, anyway, should help with the self-esteem crap too.

I don’t know, I feel like I’ve been such a downer lately, but then I’ve been pretty down.  I want to have something happy to write about, but I really don’t.

Turning anxiety into confidence

I was happy an hour ago.

Really.

This afternoon, I went up to my sister’s house, I needed to take care of my ticket (by taking care of my registration before paying the ticket, they knocked 25% off the fine), and I needed to return a Buzz Lightyear toy that G left at my house, and Sis convinced me that I needed to see E crawl, a skill he learned yesterday.  (He hasn’t figured out that he can move one hand at a time, so he’ll pick both hands up, causing him to do a nose dive, scootch his knees forward, then do it again. It’s hilarious!)

It didn’t take much talking to convince Sis to go shopping for school supplies with me–I’ve decided that I’m going to UVU, and have started on the process of getting my acceptance finalized, and the credits that will transfer transferred, and I know there’s a few things that I’d need no matter what, namely, a backpack, notebooks, and pens and pencils.

On the way home, I was thinking about what a big step this is, and a conversation I’d had earlier in the day, and my confidence started to slip. I thought about my previous attempts at school, the train wreck that is my emotional life, and money.  Always that stressor, money.

I know that avoiding doing for fear of failure, or making a mistake is not living life, neither is being so afraid of conflict that I let other people dictate my every move.

On the drive home, I noticed a few billboards for Intermountain Health Care that had slogans like “Turn anxiety into confidence”.  I know the message that they were trying to convey was along the lines of “Medical issues are scary.  Our staff is knowledgeable, and will educate you so your disease or the disease of your loved ones is less frightening” but I took a more personal message from it–that I really do need to turn my anxiety about life in general into confidence.

I wish I knew how.

One of the things that I was noticing more was all the ads, all the signs that surround us on a daily basis.  Every single ad, every billboard, every package of every product was designed by a graphic designer or artist (some of them were me–I used to work in a sign shop, and I took a detour on my way home from work, which lead me past a couple of signs that I designed).  One of the things that I’ve worried about, and have had worried about to me was the availability of work.  Mom, I’m going back to school to make it easier to find work. There are jobs–and hopefully, by the time I graduate, I’ll be able to find a company that needs an in-house designer, or an ad agency that’s hiring, or something else.

And it’s what I love doing, and that makes all the difference, right?

It’s been stormy the past few days, and I’ve wondered if that’s had an affect on my mood–I think it has, but not directly.  The dogs were crazy yesterday, and I was mad at both of them, but, according to the book I’m reading now (Inside of a Dog: What a Dog Hears, Sees and Knows) that was likely because the higher winds were kicking up all sorts of new and exciting smells.  Today, the rain has calmed everything down, including the dogs.

The other thing is my bad hip has been aching constantly–again, likely due to the changes in the weather, and it’s hard to keep a positive outlook when you hurt so badly you think you’re going to throw up.

I really am trying to stay positive, even if I’m prone to crying at random moments (most of the time it has nothing to do with the moment I’m actually in–but rather something I’m thinking of.)  What happens next is too important–I can’t blow this.

Indecison

Today (or possibly yesterday) has been a very bad day.  It’s 11pm when I start writing this, and it could very well be over an hour before I finish and edit, so I’m not sure which tense to use.

The trauma of today (or possibly yesterday) is of my own making.  It’s being beaten over my head that I’m at a crossroads of my life, and I need to make a decision about which way I want to go–if I want to continue on what seems to be a futile job hunt, or if I want to go back to school.  If I go back to school, then do I want to take web design classes that will help me get a career with graphic design, or do I want to change fields?

I think I’m so scared of making a wrong decision, that I’m having a hard time making a decision at all.  I don’t what to do next.

I’ve been praying, but I’m not receiving any answers.  Everybody keeps reminding me that the best thing to do is to make a decision, and then pray to find out if it’s the right one.  This is something I know very well–and I also know from first hand experience that the answer could be no.

But the first step in that process is making a decision, and I feel like none of the choices in front of me feel right enough to choose them firmly enough to pray to know if it is right.

Okay, I just confused myself with that last sentience.

So, here’s the thing; I LOVE graphic design.  I love drawing, I love layout, I love color theory, I love seeing my ideas come to life–and best of all, I love it when other people love my work.  However, I’m not sure I have the right personality to be a successful graphic designer–I’m not motivated enough to work freelance.  And companies that hire in-house designers just aren’t looking for print designers now.

I feel like if I change fields, than that would mean that I wasted my parent’s money going to a very expensive school just so I could learn a new toy to play with, and I’m terrified that if I go back to become, say, a pharmacy technician, it’d amount to the same thing–a waste of time and money to discover that I’m not good to make money in that field, either.

I’m making myself cry.  This is the whole reason I waited until 11pm to write todays post.

Anyway, moving on.

PipersGirls, is the blog for Piper’s Quilts, a quilt shop in Salt Lake City.  I want to go and check them out someday…(sis, I’m passing this information on to you.  Someday, when I’m up visiting, we’re going to have to go there.) Anyway, the girls behind Piper’s Girls have a tag “I’m Lucky Because” that they use occasionally–the most recent being last week.

I’m having a hard time coming up with reasons why I’m lucky–even though I know I am, so I decided to make a list of things that I’m grateful for.

Bear with me, please, this might get a little sappy.

I’m grateful for my wonderful family.  I know that they want what’s best for me, and are willing to do anything to help me, if I only bend my pride enough to ask.

I’m grateful for friends who remain true–and who care about me.  On that note, I’m so glad that Rose stopped by to see how I was doing yesterday.  You don’t know what that means to me.

I’m grateful for Max and Lulu.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without them.  They love me unconditionally, and get me dressed and out of the house every single day.  They’re always there for me.

I’m grateful for nature, and the little bit of wildlife around my house.  I’m grateful for the song sparrows, and woodpeckers and even the variable calls of the starlings.

I’m grateful for flowers, and that I can grow at least a few things on my patio.  I’m grateful that pansies are practically impossible to kill as long as the weather is cool–my pansies were completely wilted, laying down, dead-looking when I got back from my sister’s house.  One good, deep watering later, though, and they perked right back up.

As much as I moan about living in Utah county, I’m grateful to live where I do.  I love the desert, I love the subtle beauty of the Great Basin, and the way that plants and animals have evolved to not only survive, but thrive in such difficult conditions.  My favorite memories are of spending time with family exploring the desert.

I could go on, but the transition between emo and sappiness is a bit much, even for me.

We have a winner!

Upon opening up WordPress to write a new post this morning, I saw this:

Yay!  100 comments *cue the balloons and noisemakers*

So, who had the magical 100th comment?

Yay Sis!  You win…I dunno, how about the aluminum foil I left at your house?  YAY!!!ELEVEN!!

Ahem, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system…

I’m still recovering from the week at Sis’s house, and have gone through a whole range of negative emotions–from despair and depression to anger, and it’s all settled down into worry and stress.

I’m worried about my future–both what’s going to happen in the next few months and years and the next few days.  I’m worried about my finances, and I’m worried about a lesion I have on a mole on my arm that doesn’t seem to be healing–and I don’t know if I should get it checked out, because if it is something serious, there’s no way I could pay to have it taken care of.

I’m also worried that it could be nothing and I’m worrying over nothing.

I know.  I never claimed to not be crazy, though.

I guess I need to just take the next little bit and re-focus and re-center.  There is too much that needs to happen for me to melt into a big pile of insanity.

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