Tag Archives: psychotherapy

Dog Therapy and More

My two dogs have been faithful companions throughout my depression ups and downs. They are always there to snuggle and give me unconditional love. I don’t know what I would have done for the past year without them. And I have not  been the best of dog owners either; not that they are abused or anything, I know they need to go out for walks, but more often than not, I have crawled into bed after work to veg. Not living really, but they put up with me in spite of it. So I am sure they are glad to see me in a better, more active state of mind and body. I’m sure it is a combination of factors, including med adjustment, better weather and trying to focus on positive thoughts. My sister says, “positive thoughts lead to positive feelings.” I’m not sure that any of us can think our way out of depression. But positive thoughts sure beat wallowing in melancholy.

So I am looking forward to a new job this month. I spent the past year teaching nursing at a local liberal arts college. While it wasn’t bad, I really didn’t have a passion for it (or perhaps the depression was interfering with my work). I am more motivated by clinical practice and hope this job fits me well. Practice pays better than teaching too. My therapist says this time between jobs would be a good time to establish a “routine.” She specifically means eat right and exercise. Ugh. I know I need to, but it’s a really tough proposition. I know I need to take better care of myself so I can be more effective in helping others. Sort of like the airplane speech about putting your oxygen mask on before assisting your children/family members. But it is so very hard, don’t you think?

Meanwhile, I have made great strides in taking care of my home and yard. Mowing and pulling weeds is good exercise (push mower, one-quarter acre). The yard has been quite neglected since last year when my Mother got sick. By the way, she has made a miraculous recovery from being near death. She has gone from being unable to walk, to driving and socializing with friends. She is coming to visit me too. Hope to do something fun with my few weeks off. All work and no play makes Jen a dull woman. Can’t have that.

So, I am completing some unfinished projects and have gone back to some creative pursuits (pottery, crochet, jewelry making, blogging). Positive activities boost my mood for sure. Staying busy!

Being a Homebody

This week I am spending the majority of the work week at another of our business offices for clinical software training. Four whole days away from my home base, and it’s not a vacation. I’ve never considered a travelling job because I’m really a homebody. I like to nest or cocoon, curl up with my books or crocheting and be by myself. Not that I mind company or being with others, I just like to be at home, it’s my comfort zone. I’ve never been one who likes to party and carouse, I’m more of an introvert. I spend lots of time with people in my professional work, so I am somewhat protective of my time as well.

My therapist keeps trying to encourage me to get out of my comfort zone and be social. I do go out with friends and do things, but I think everyone has busy lives too. Maybe I’m missing out on something, but I’m ok with that. So for now, my temporary cocoon is a hotel room and I’m making do until I can get back home.

The Pills That Quell Despair

Everyday part of my routine is to ingest a handful of pills morning and evening. Part of that handful are three specific medications to treat my Depression. One a pretty bicolor capsule, one a small blue pill and one a medium-sized white tablet. Without these, my world would be full of gray, melancholy thoughts, escaping into sleep, and thoughts of suicide. Not a pretty picture for sure. Meds make me feel at least baseline functional. They aren’t “happy pills” by any means. Believe me, I wish there was a pill for happiness, I would be queuing up for that one.

How did I get to be on so much medication? Well, I’ve been on lots of other medications along the way. Started out on the miracle drug Prozac when I was initially diagnosed in 1995. Boy was that a life saver. At the time, I was suicidal and homicidal. Scary even to talk about those really dark days. The thoughts were obsessive, and I felt terrorized day and night. Had the most horrible nightmares too. Plane crashes, fires, murders, any kind of violent mayhem you can think of…it’s any wonder I could cope at all. Prozac took all of this away, so I could participate in therapy and work on things I needed to change. It was such a relief not to have those intrusive thoughts, the kind that make you feel really unglued.

But sometimes the drugs stop working for no apparent reason. So I’ve been through a number of antidepressants to manage my symptoms. I’ve been on four or five different medications between Prozac and my current mix. I’m not one of the lucky ones that can be weaned off medication, but I can say I’ve never been hospitalized. I’ve always kept trudging on, maintaining the status quo the best I can. That is part of my disease, I put other’s needs before my own, so that was one of the main reasons for never checking out…people were counting on me!!!

I understand not everyone benefits or even approves of the use of medication. And I’ve certainly done my share to contribute to the wealth of Big Pharma by taking the newest meds on the market. But medication works for my symptoms, and I need to use them in  combination with therapy to get and or stay well.

Wellness is the ultimate goal, right?

Holding Patterns

Sometimes I just feel like I’m in a holding pattern. Like an airplane circling above its destination waiting to land. I never seem to have my life completely together or balanced. For example, work is going well, but my personal life may be in shambles. So work could probably be even better if  my home life were not in disarray.

Right now, I’m making progress in therapy getting my head together. Unfortunately, my love life is down the drain and the rug was recently pulled out from under me at work. So needless to say, I feel unbalanced. I would really like to know what it feels like when everything is going right all at the same time. Is that possible? Is that what normal is? How long do I have to wait to land?

Still Struggling

I’m still struggling with being open with others, finding a balance between being friendly and aloof. I feel like I am just matter of fact, tell it like it is kind of person. But apparently that is off-putting to some. I am “unapproachable.” My therapist says I can work on this. Somehow I must have missed the lesson on how to make nice at work. One of my issues is fear of getting hurt. I’ve experienced so much emotional pain due to relationships that I just don’t want to get that involved with people. But my therapist says I can be cordial and warm without getting too deep. I’m going to try to work on that. I sure do better with writing than talking.

Sometimes I wish I could have a personality transplant, because I feel Depression has shaped my personality in a negative manner. It certainly has changed my worldview and it has affected how I see myself as well. Nothing seems clear, and I can’t even trust my judgement or perception. So can I really rely on others opinions either? Should I trust others as being sincere, or am I being set up for a fall? Hard to tell, and no one to ask. Feel like I am right back at the beginning, and I thought I was making progress…

Coming Out Mental

Well, today I took a big step and told my supervisor at my new job about my Depression. She was pretty cool about it and asked if everything was ok, and if there was anything she could do. I explained this was a longstanding issue and nothing new. Also that I was on top of it and getting help was part of staying healthy. And that it had a big genetic component as well.

What initiated the conversation was I had to schedule an early therapy appointment, so I was going to be late for work. I texted my boss to let her know, and she asked if the appointment was regarding work. Without even thinking, I texted back that no, I had a therapist appointment. Oops, probably not the best way to handle things. Who the heck texts the boss to tell them they are seeing a shrink????

Well we caught up later in the day and she was really nice about it. I’m just crazy paranoid after previous job experiences like the one where I got written up for going to the doctor. Yep, you read that right. When else are you supposed to go when they work business hours too? So I’m out to my boss, and she and I had a brief discussion about treatment, counseling and medication. We also talked about dysfunctional families and how common they really are. We are all dealing with something was the conclusion for both of us. And I did get some praise about how well I’m doing at my job. That always helps when you get positive feedback. Particularly after therapy.

So I felt kind of relieved. At least it’s out in the open in the event I have any future problems with job performance or “negative attitude.” I can at least say we have discussed my disability and my boss is aware of it. Just in case. Guess you can tell I’ve been traumatized before in the workplace while dealing with Depression. Now I know I have rights because Depression is a chronic illness. Discrimination is no more appropriate than if I had heart disease or diabetes.

I won’t be scheduling anymore morning therapy appointments though. My butt has been dragging all day…it’s just so emotionally draining and hard to focus afterwards, plus I look like hell after crying.

Waterworks

I’d like to think that I’m doing better since starting new medication and being in therapy for a while now, but I doubt myself as usual. I guess one thing that makes me question myself is that I find myself in tears nearly the entire therapy session. Now granted, I’ve always been more toward the overly emotional side of things, and my heart is not on my sleeve but dangling somewhere by a thread, and getting kicked around by steel-toed shoes.

It was actually rather darkly humorous that we didn’t even begin to talk and the tears started to flow. I laughed about how she brings out the angst in me. We couldn’t decide if it was the place or her, and I said we would have to run into each other in a public place to see if I had the same reaction.

So all the waterworks does very little for my already congested sinuses and chronic headache. She is taking a vacation and promises she will be all stocked up again on facial tissues when she returns. That’s a promise I expect her to keep. We’ve been having some tough conversations lately about intimate relationships, and I’ve had to admit to some big mistakes and bad judgement. Yes, you heard right. This gal has made mistakes. Not perfect. And I’m working on being ok with that. I hope others can be too. Now if I can just address my situation…