Here’s what happened:
When I posted my last entry, I didn’t realize how much of an impact that particular issue was having on my emotional health. I thought it was a small issue, just a little resentment and anxiety to deal with. However, as soon as I posted that entry I started to pull my world back until it was the size and shape of my bed. Not good. Apparently I’ve got a lot of work to do on that particular incident. I’ll blog about it eventually, but please be advised that it will be painful and I’ll procrastinate about it for quite some time.
So what snapped me out of it? Believe it or not, the mental health system. Sometimes it works! I had an appointment with my case worker (at my community health center, case workers are mental health professionals who help patients deal with the day to day stuff. If you need help budgeting, they help. If you need referrals to assistance programs for rent or utilities, they know where to send you. If you’ve got an anxiety issue around crowed places, they’ll go to the grocery store with you. So on and so forth). At the time of my appointment (last week), I couldn’t get out of the house, so we did a phone session and she made me promise to do several things that, hopefully will work when they didn’t in the past.
Here’s what I’m doing:
Group counseling. I had been going to a group for people with eating issues. I’m going to start going to one for people with depression and anxiety as well. I haven’t started this so we’ll see
how it goes.
Psycho-education. My mental health center just started doing this thing where they have a class/group that educates patients on particular therapy types and gives them the skills to use them at home. For example: They educate you on the basis for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), its history and particular philosophy. Then they teach you how to use it on your own. I start this today.
On-line support forums/groups. I’ve joined a support group on Facebook that is specifically for those with depression and anxiety. I’ve joined these things before then dropped out because all I did was read what everyone else was saying and never participated. My case manager had me promise to participate at least twice a week. For some reason, this is helping. I’m not sure why. Possibly because I’ve forced myself to be open (I’ve asked for advice about how to deal with specific symptoms and once just vented) or maybe because this group is particularly supportive. I don’t know, but it lifts my spirits.
Self-help books. I read self-help books off and on all the time, but I never do any of the exercises in
the books. Maybe because I’m just lazy. Probably because I’m scared of change. My case manager recommended that I have my regular counselor approve a book before I read it and do the assignments just so I’m not doing some wacky-doodle type stuff, so we’ll see how this goes. I’m least optimistic about this because it’ll require motivation and mental work. I get a bit of “brain fog” (where it feels like I’m thinking through a fog) and I’ll have to push myself to do it. I’ll start doing this once or twice a week, starting later this week.
Medication. We’re upping (with approval from my drug pusher—I mean my psychiatrist) my meds a little. It’ll take a few weeks (6-8 is the average) to see if this does anything for me.
Self-care. One of the things that I’ve realized lately is that I’m perpetuating a pattern of neglect from my childhood onto myself. To be less “intellectual” about it, I neglect myself. I’ve let my sleep pattern get nuts (some days I sleep all day, others I don’t sleep at all, etc), been lax with my personal hygiene (you don’t need the details on that), and, of course, eaten badly. I’ve agreed to focus on one aspect of self-care a day.
What I’m hoping that will happen is that all this stuff will not only help me feel better, but will make it easier for me to keep promises to my family, myself, and to you. I’m thinking I’ll probably share a lot of the above changes and struggles with you. Or at least that’s the plan.
Wish me luck.
Blessings to all of you.