Sunday, 15 September 2013

Good for the soul

It's been a busy few weeks.  I am seeing my psychiatrist once a week and I am steadily getting better which I am so happy to say.  I still have sleep issues but I think I will always be somewhat of an insomniac, especially without the help of a sleep aid.  I am happy to report that I have been able to go from 7.5mg to 3.75mg of Zopiclone a night.  I am slowly trying to ween myself off of it.  I still have some fleeting suicidal thoughts but they are few and far between. I do still wonder if I have A.D.D. as my attention span lately has been less than stellar.  Lucky for me that is also a side effect of my mental illness ha ha. 

In regard to the DBT workbook I am working on chapters 3, 4 & 5.  I will have to write more about them.  Some of the chapters are harder to write about as they are mostly on mindfulness activities.  I am still looking for a free, downloadable voice program that I can use to record some of the activities as they are extremely hard for me to do without it.

My kitchen is still under construction and it's very overwhelming, especially with an anxiety and depression disorder.  I look at it and try to think of where to start to get the rest of the house looking normal.  Sometimes my brain just shuts down because it's just sooooo overwhelming that I feel like a chicken without it's head.

Lately my frustrations has been my weight and my progress at Weight Watchers.  I recently started working out at the 30 Minute Hit (The Hit) close to where I live and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.  It's also perfect for my A.D.D. mind as it's a circuit and you move from one station to the next every two minutes.  I started this about a month ago and of course, me being me, I was expecting more weight loss on the scales than I have seen.  The first week I gained 0.8 lbs but realized that it probably had to do with the sandwich I ate as I was heading to The Hit after the meeting.  The week after I had a 1.6 lbs loss which I was super stoked about.  Then last week I gained exactly 1.6 lbs, uggg!  I was bummed but then my friends reminded me that my fat is turning to muscle so my body is becoming leaner but the weight isn't shifting off my body just yet.  That will come.  It also had a whole heck of a lot to do with water retention.  What I did notice this week was that I wasn't as bitchy as I normally am around this time.  Granted I was in pain but when I was feeling uber hormonal, which triggers my depression, I went to The Hit and was motivated to feel better.  It's definitely helping in that department.

Now to the humourous part of my week.  Last Sunday I went to a boot-camp held at The Hit and felt a little bad that I wasn't able to do all the exercises the way they were being taught because my body just doesn't move like that just yet.  I honestly thought I hadn't gotten anything out of it.  Then on Monday I tried to sit to pee first thing in the morning and I could barely get there.  I then knew that I had indeed gotten a lot out of the class and much, much more ha ha.  I don't think I could sit properly until Thursday but I still went to The Hit a few times just to keep the muscles from going to stiff. 

As I write this I am watching a show on Investigation Discovery and the author, Susan Mustafa, who is discussing a crime on this particular show looks like Sally Struthers and it has been quite distracting.  In this moment I am pretty sure I just aged myself. 

And with that, I am out :)!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Still working on Chapter 2

I have been meaning to write more on Chapter 2 of the DBT workbook but I got sidetracked.  I got sick with a stomach bug and that spiraled into a couple of days of depression.  Then I decided that I wanted a change, actually I needed a change, so what I did was dye my hair blonde.  It only took 4 times of bleaching it, a couple of toner applications and four deep conditioning's and I am pretty close to the colour I like.  To make it look good I also lightly bleached my eyebrows to make it look more natural. 

I also decided to try some kickboxing to get out some of my anxiety.  I joined 30 Minute Hit for a month to see if I connect with it and to lose weight.  I had taken a couple of month off from Weight Watchers but went back and I really love the support group side of it. 

Now, in regard to Chapter 2 of the DBT workbook, it's been hard.  It has a lot of exercises that I need to think about.  Originally I got stumped on the Spirituality section as that's not really my area of expertise but is something I have been thinking of lately although not enough to be able to answer the questions posed in the exercise.  After talking with my psychiatrist I decided to skip that section and try the rest.  At the moment, I am still working on it but have been using the tools I have already learned.  I also have a coping sentence that I connected with, of which I will discuss more in another post but it's my new mantra.

"I'm a sensitive person with rich emotional experiences."  It made me giggle when I read it, so I KNEW it was the one!

Sorry it's a bit of a mish mash but I hope someone gets something out of it. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Chapter 2

Last week was the practical application of the DBT skills.  I was able to put a lot of the skills that I learned in chapter 1 into use, which is both a good and bad thing.  Good in that I was able to move freely through the skills if some didn't work or weren't appropriate and bad in that I was stressed enough that I had to use them.  I even put one into use that I hadn't anticipated and that was just leaving the situation to calm down.

This week it's reading chapter 2 and so far so good.  As mentioned, the workbook is very easy to get through.  Part of this chapter is visualization exercises/skills.  If you're like me, memorizing the the exercise and then visualize while relaxing doesn't work.  If you have a recording device then it won't be an issue but unfortunately I don't.  What I did instead was take a walk down to Odin Books after my psychiatrist appointment as it's about 5 blocks away and pick up a CD by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Mindfulness for Beginners.  It's been very helpful and his voice is VERY relaxing.  I also have the book by Jon Kabat-Zinn but like the CD version much better. 

Next week will be putting chapter 2 into practice so I will write more about the chapter then and the exercises.  Until then, I hope you all have a very stress free week.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Putting some of my DBT into practice

With the issues I have been having lately, my psychiatrist suggested I try Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) to help with my lack of distress tolerance.  Essentially the game plan is to do up to a chapter in the workbook every second week if possible and practice the techniques on the other weeks so that not only do I learn the theory but I also get practice.  This was the week I put chapter 1 of the DBT workbook into practice and so far it seems to help a little.  I know that I can't expect miracles but I guess I was hoping for some.

Chapter 1 is about the basic distress tolerance skills and I must say the workbook is easy, manageable and pretty self explanatory if one was working on it on their own.  I am planning on going back through the chapter to write some notes about it as it's better to have the main talking points handy when having a distress attack.  The chapter also asks you to put together your own Distraction Plan and relaxation and soothing skills for home and out and about.  Below is what I have come up with.

My Distraction Plan
  1. count my breaths
  2. look outside, observe nature and people
  3. paint my nails
  4. vacuum
  5. teach myself to crochet
  6. go for a long walk
  7. write a blog post
  8. water plants and garden
  9. write letters to people I am mad at but don't send them
  10. listen to happy music.
I can tell you right now that since Monday I have used 8 of the 10 on this list.  At the moment I am not mad at anyone and I haven't vacuumed but that is on the list of things to do today, vacuuming that is.

Relaxation & Soothing Skills (Home)
  1. play with Puck & Oberon
  2. wear my comfy clothes (usually consists of sweat pants and an over-sized shirt)
  3. listen to soothing music (Tchaikovsky is always a good choice for me)
  4. turn on my Saje AromaAir Nebulizer and an uplifting essential oil
  5. listen to relaxation exercises (Jon Kabat-Zinn has some great mindfulness ones on CD)
  6. Bake
  7. enjoy a cup or 10 of a soothing tea
  8. use some of my Saje Mists for calming, such as Lavender
I have only utilized 2 of these since Monday but feel like I need some mists and soothing music.  I was going to bake today but it's too hot for the oven to be on.  I love the smell of fresh cookies.  I might bake some bread though in my bread maker as the smell is heavenly.  It won't be gluten free as those who know me know that my last try at that one didn't work out too well.

Relaxation & Soothing Skills (On the go)

  1. Head to a Waves, Starbucks or any kind of coffee shop and enjoy a nice cup of tea
  2. listen to some soothing music (thankfully MP3 players have been invented and loads of music can be added to the selection)
  3. listen to some relaxation exercises
  4. play with Puck & Oberon in the park
  5. go for sushi and really enjoy it
  6. close my eyes and listen to the sounds around me
  7. window shop
Some on my home and on the go lists are the same but the way I figure it, I might as well have a few good ones that I can practice easily at home and elsewhere and not overwhelm myself with too many things to practice.

Now the only thing I need to get sorted is the fact that I have had a headache on 5 of the last 7 days.  Probably stress related and obviously I really need to work these exercises.  Especially since I have had new intrusive thoughts that, while not doable, are still disturbing.  I hope that I can get through this bout without being in the hospital again.  So far, so good. 

Below are photos of Puck & Oberon.  They both help to calm and relax me.  How can they not with faces like these.

PS. I also have to put a shout out there to people who have contacted me but I haven't had a chance to get back about being part of my support system.  I thank them and I definitely want and need it, I just haven't had the mental focus or capacity to really explain that yet.  I am finding I am isolating again and need to first get myself out of that mind frame.  You know who you are and Puck would be in heaven to see you, I hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Months in the making

I am sure many of you wonder what you are on this earth for and the past few months I have been asking myself the same question. Am I here to show strength in the face of adversity?  Am I here as retribution for something I did wrong in another life?  I choose to believe it is the former rather than the latter.

I have somehow managed to keep going when all the chips were stacked against me.  All my life I have tried to get ahead of where I came from.  Not to forget who I was but to be better than what I was born into.  Let me get it straight, I don't blame my parents for anything.  They did what they could to make it better and were hit with road blocks that left us in some situations that were less than kind.  It made me a stronger person but it also made me vulnerable to the mental illnesses I have.

What I learn everyday is that I am here to help others who also suffer from mental illness.  I am here to tell them they can do it and it's not something to be ashamed of.  I am here to tell the parents out there that if your child is talking suicide do get them help but be more worried if they are depressed and not talking about it.  

By no means am I a medical professional but I do digest a lot of what I am told by my psychiatrist and feel it's the right thing to do, it also helps me out a lot.  Not because it distracts me but because it reminds me what to do for myself.  

At the moment I am writing this post to distract myself from my intrusive thoughts and waiting for my Zopiclone to kick in so I can get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I sometimes take a vitamin/mineral powder but that's when my skin doesn't feel tingly and my anxiety doesn't have it's own anxiety.

What I also want to share with you is that if you are in the Vancouver, BC area I highly suggest going to Odin Books as they are great for Mental Health & Education resources.  I was able to walk in and get two books right there without having to go all over the world (i.e. every book store in the area) or order online and wait.  The staff are also VERY helpful and they ship, so if you aren't in the area and need some of what they have to offer, definitely have them ship to you.  

Maybe next post I will talk a bit about my OCD.  I only have minor rituals but they are rituals none the less and need to be done.  I know it annoys the hell out of my husband sometimes but the compulsion to do it in a certain way takes precedence to his annoyance ha ha.  Have to have a laugh at some point about this mess that is my head.