The Pit of Depression

Here’s the thing about depression: it is sneaky!  It starts with sleeping in a day, then skipping dishes after dinner, and soon you’re sleeping 15 hours a day and crying more than you should when you’re awake.

I do approximately 7 hours of recovery and therapy related events a week, not including the time I spend on doing work for those events outside of the actual events, like homework for group therapy.

That included individual therapy, group therapy, SMART meetings, DBT classes, community groups, and online recovery meetings.

Despite all of that, I’ve been in a funk.  I didn’t even really notice, and when my husband pointed it out, I felt defeated.  I’m doing all of this work, taking all of these meds, and I still am having issues?!?!

Well, time to buck up again and just push forward.  I’m going to make a game plan with my therapist, because my ideas aren’t working anymore.  I am not going to let my brain disease win.  I refuse.  My life is too awesome to give up on.  Even though I may not believe it all of the time, I am worth it, too.

 

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Rejection, Cognitive Distortions, and Moving Forward

Well, I didn’t get into Rutger’s.  I am super disappointed and there is a war going on in my head to stay healthy while dealing with the rejection.  On one hand, I feel this is a personal rejection, like they rejected me on a personal level, me as a person.

This is called a cognitive distortion, specifically, personalization.  Personalization is, as psych central defines it, “is where a person believes that everything others say and do is some sort of direct, personal reaction to the person”.  (For the full article, visit here! It is an excellent article on psych central that explains 15 common cognitive distortions.)

I could go into wise mind, but I am going to just keep it simple.   I need to make my emotions, feeling personally rejected, and my logic, that it is not personal and I still have more options, align together.  It is difficult, and it is something that I struggle with quite a bit.

So I am going to move forward.   I plan on applying to more schools within a month or 2, but for right now I am going to focus on the Rally for Recovery (check out the FB page right here!) and finding a more fulfilling job.  I just set up 2 interviews for jobs that will bring me closer to my career goals.

Even if this sucks, I can deal with it without self-destructing.  I am getting better.  It is good news, disguised as bad news.

The Battle of the Routine

Let’s face it.  One of the worst parts of depression is the lethargy that I discussed in my last post.  (Check it out HERE!)

The way to battle it? Straight up routine.  The problem?  Well, I DON’T WANNA!  I want to sleep and lay around, not get up early and do things.  Ugh.

That perpetuates the cycle, though.  I gave myself today to rest and plan, and then I start my new routine tomorrow.  I’ve included my basic routine, minus my appointments, at the bottom of this post.

The hardest part for me is getting going in the morning.  I am not a morning person and leaving the comfort of my bed is not fun.  It means I have to deal with all of the emotions and struggles out in the world.   Who honestly wants to do that?

I’m hoping after enough time with the routine it will become, well, routine, and I won’t dread it as much. For now, though, I am dreading this week and hoping I make it through.

Wish me luck and check out the link to my schedule below!  Have any tips?

New Schedule

Homesick from Kitties

I spent the weekend at Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.  We had a room with a full kitchen, a separate bedroom, and a full dining room.  The resort had an indoor theme park, an indoor waterpark, a movie theater, a bowling alley, 4 restaurants, a bunch of gift shops, and the walk from our room to the lobby and back was half a mile.  It was huge.

I got homesick.  Really homesick.  And we left the kitties at home, so I was worried.  Combine the two and you get panic attacks.

It was interesting.

I journaled, slept, went swimming, kissed my husband, listened to two little girls giggling, cuddles my new lemur stuffed animal, and begged hubby for reassurance that the kitties were fine.

We got home today.  They were fine.  I am fine.

Onto the next adventure next weekend for a girls’ weekend, without hubby.  It will be a test of how well I can deal independently.

Wish me luck!

I’M BACK!

For me, it is hard to write when I am in a dark place.  I get self conscious about how I sound and how people will judge me.   I never want to come off as a pity-party or make somebody call the cops because I seem suicidal.

Well, it has been a full week in an up mood!  I got my hair dyed, started the process for getting my Master’s degree, had some awesome time with my girls, and booked a vacation for my lil girl’s birthday!

I’ve also been doing pretty well with cleaning.  Still trying to declutter, but that is a process.

For me, during those dark times, nothing seems to help.  I can go through all of my DBT tools, and sometimes they just don’t help.  My BPD makes me impulsive to get out of the mood as fast as I can, so crave alcohol.  The urges to do something self destructive are insanely strong.  I isolated, but my husband wouldn’t let me for very long.  I was moody, irritable, and generally horrible to be around.  I slept longer than I should have, but in my mind, that is better than being suicidal or drinking.  Gotta work on that.

I started a new routine this morning with my medications and it seems to be helping me get going in the morning!  I am not a morning person by nature.  My husband drives me nuts when he is all energized and crazy in the morning.

Overall, I guess I just want to say that no matter how bad it seems, don’t give in!  It will get better!   I was ready to give up 2 weeks ago, and now I have so much to be happy about.

You are worth fighting for, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment.

Stay strong!

Lists, Notes, and Planners, Oh, MY!

Part of what has really been helpful throughout my recovery journey is having a schedule and being held accountable.  While sometimes my anxiety/depression makes this near impossible, I do the best I can do.  And by the “best I can do”, I mean I may overdo it when I am feeling well.  The thing is that it really does help, so making checklists, weekly/daily schedules, having a ridiculous planner, and a daily journal are all things that I have scattered about me randomly.

The weekly schedule is on the fridge.  My DBT BA (a basic explanation of what a BA, or behavioral activation is! CLICK ME! I CONTAIN KNOWLEDGE!) schedule is in my planner, my daily grateful/goals/self-affirmations are in my journal, and random to-do lists/events/and things to remember are all scribbled about somewhere in my planner.

Keeping track of everything I do helps me stay focused and gives me perspective when at the end of the day I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything.

ba-new

^ this is my BA list, weekly.

Not only do I try to do better day to day, but I can make weekly goals, too.  I keep them every week and try to look for patterns.  Sometimes digging into patterns helps, but oftentimes I end up overwhelmed, so I try to do it sparingly.  If you like my layout, go ahead and steal it!  Add your own stuff in!  Keep track!  Then, look back and be grateful and proud of all you’ve accomplished.

To be honest, there are days that I can check off maybe 1 box of completions.  But you know what?  There are other days that I manage to get all of them done.  It all evens out, even with the bad days.  I promise.

Out and About

I had a bunch of errands to run this morning.  And, let’s face it, I don’t always do well when I am out of the house.  Today, thankfully, I was fine, but there are times that anxiety overtakes me.

Those times, I need tools I’ve learned to save me.  I always carry a small journal in my purse and a few pens.  In my experience, there is usually somewhere to sit nearby that I can take a breather and write a little bit, even if it is just in my car.  Along the same lines as the journal, I like to thought challenge.  What exactly am I anxious about?  What can I do to play devil’s advocate to myself and challenge what I am anxious about?  If I feel judged, I can thought challenge that and ask myself why I care what other people think, or tell myself that people usually are too wrapped up in what they are doing to judge other people.

Another tool that I use is deep breathing.  In through the nose, count to 3, out through the mouth while counting to 5.  Science has shown that deep breathing can alter how your body is reacting to stress.

Last and not least, I may remove myself from the situation.  This is last choice.  I have to realize that sometimes, I cannot deal with certain situations.  This does not make me weak, it makes me intelligent in that I am able to recognize my limits.

What do you do when you are having a bad time out in public?

If you don’t have any mental health issues, what thoughts do you have when  you are out and about and get overwhelmed or stressed?

Any advice?  Comment away!

BPD and Thought Distortion

Thought distortions are things that people with mental illness do…. ALOT.  Heck, healthy people do it, too, sometimes.

Article on Thought Distortion

A link for some examples!

This morning I had a really bad episode.  It hiked my anxiety up so far I almost threw up trying to go get some labs at the hospital done.

My hubby, who ALWAYS calls on both of his breaks, didn’t call on his first break.  I freaked out.  I went into panic mode.  “What if he was in a car accident?”  “What if he decided he is sick of me and just left forever?”    My thoughts circled around all of the terrible things that might have happened. I called him 46 times.  Yup…46 times.  Ridiculous, right?  At the time, my mind rationalized that if he got in an accident, somebody would pick up eventually.   I worked myself up to being physically sick.  I skipped my hospital labs and went home before I could grocery shop, which I had planned to do after the hospital labs.

His second break time comes around  and he calls.  I could physically feel my chest loosen and I could breathe again.  He ended up having to work through his first break.

The lesson:  thought distortions are real and can really affect behavior.  I did my best to thought challenge and distract myself, but this time it didn’t work.

That doesn’t mean I am a failure, I just had a bad morning.  After getting my stability back, I did go grocery shopping.  I missed a bunch of other housework, though.  No biggie, I’ll work on it tomorrow.

DBT Stuff

I post a lot of stuff about how I’m doing and the activities that I do in order to keep going. What I don’t usually post about is DBT skills that I use on a daily basis.  So, basically, I am going to use this post to list a few of my favorite skills and how I use them.

*PLEASED – This skill addresses the physical aspect of being healthy.  It involves exercise, personal hygiene, diet, sleep habits, and abstaining from non-prescribed mood altering substances such as alcohol and drugs.  HOW I USE IT!  Sometimes, I feel crappy and don’t want to do anything.  I use this skill to hop in the shower and put make up on.  Sometimes, that simple act can turn my mood around.   I also use this when I need to be gentle on myself and take a nap or rest.

*One Thing at a Time (OT) –  I overwhelm myself easy.  I jump to conclusions and am thinking a few steps ahead of where I am.  This skill helps me take a minute and focus on what I am doing in the moment.  HOW I USE IT!  When I am overwhelmed, I take a mental note to clear my mind as best as I can, and mindfully do whatever it is that I am doing.  If I am taking a shower, I focus on the water and the smells of my soap.  If I am getting ready for the day and feel overwhelmed, I do my best to slow down and focus on the way my clothes feel, pick my make up more carefully, and so on and so forth.

*Build Positive Experiences (BPE) – This skill helps build up positive experiences that can eventually replace the negative experiences.  HOW I USE IT!  I love this skill.  I am using it every time that I decide to something awesome or epic.  I am using it when I plan parties, vacations, or even just simple family movie nights.  It helps me focus on the positive moments in my life.

Wow.  That was only 3 skills.  I use ALOT more than that on a daily basis.  I am far from mastering them, but I do practice a lot.  I’ll keep going in further posts about DBT.

Did I not mention your favorite skill?  No problem, there will be more!  Give me suggestions of skills you want me to cover!