Cold and Flu’s and Downhill Battles

Its been a while since I have done a Mental Health Post, and with having a cold and viral infection, it is timely that I write a post.

Normally with a cold, I can have one day when I feel really yuck, and then I am back on the road to recovery, however this time, it hasn’t been quite so easy to shake.  In fact I haven’t been able to shake it at all, and every time I think I am recovering, I have another ache, pain or ailment pop up.

So Friday I started feeling unwell, I had two days at home, feeling sorry for myself and thought that by Monday, I would be feeling OK.  Wrong.

Monday came, and went, and there was little improvement.  In fact, by Monday night I had wound myself up nicely and ended up with Asthma.  Fortunately I have an asthma plan and with help from my beloved, I was able to calm down and sleep for the night.

There was no improvement on Tuesday either, and by Wednesday, I knew that I wasn’t getting better, and my mood started to drop.

Why did it drop?  I guess I spend a lot of time, when I am well, focusing on keeping myself mentally well.  I do things that make myself feel better, and with not being well, I have been unable to do those things.  I couldn’t concentrate long enough to read anything except at night.  My head ached, my chest rattled, and I just didn’t have any reserves left.

Fortunately, my husband was also very onto it this time, and while I knew I was going downhill, he knew just what I needed to make me feel better, and it did.  With some kind loving and words of encouragement, I was able to smile again, and know that I have the support I need when I needed it.

It is really important when you have any mental illness that you that you take particular care.  Having been on a course of Antibiotics for my arm, my immune level was compromised, and then with the virus on time, the cold just latched on and wouldn’t let go.  Its important to make sure that you have contingencies in place, to counter for those moments when your physical health hits the skids.  Being aware that you have a tendency to decline, may be half your battle won.  Having a plan in place to counteract it, will really work in your favour.

Being unwell has meant that a lot of my contingency plans haven’t been able to work because they involve getting outside and walking, but that doesn’t mean I have to limit myself exercise wise.  There is still yoga, which can be done gently while in a congested state.  Watching your favourite videos, or even cuddling with your favourite toy (or partner, which is much better), can all be part of those plans – provided of course that your partner can put up with you and your germs!)

I am slowly getting better, and my mental health can only improve with my own health.

So what plans do you have in place for those moments when things fall apart?

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On the Brighter Side of Life!

It has been two weeks since I revisited my Doctor – I visit her again tomorrow.  I have changed my antidepressant again, but this time, I have not crashed, gone backwards or felt miserable during the changeover.  I am hoping that this might be the one.

I had a heart to heart with my Doctor.  I told her that I am sick of having these ups and downs.  I want to be normal (yeah – lol – I know!), I want to be consistent, instead of changing every time the tablets don’t work.  This isn’t the last resort – there is the Mental Health Unit and Psychiatrists – which is a path I may have to go down, but in the meantime, I have to keep trying.

The good news is, these tablets have kept me stable – not up, not down.  Just stable.  I have had a few afternoon naps, but not as many as before, and I am finding that each day, there is more and more I can do.  I have been helping my husband out at work – he has just gone out on his own, and I have become an apprentice cable tugger – what he calls me – and it involves pulling cables through walls.  I have also cleaned up after him and set out the detectors and sounders he needed for the rooms.  It has all worked out really nicely.

I have taken up meditation – although I don’t do as much as I would like, although there is a very simple one that I do, when I get into bed at night.  That is noticing my breathing and saying to myself – rising (inhale), falling (exhale).  Just doing that even when I am stressed is enough to make me calmer, and I recognise my cue now – I get ringing in my left ear – that is the first indication that I am stressed.  Funny that.

I have also taken up yoga.  And my husband enjoys it too.  We have done a couple of sessions together, and we have both commented on how it gives us an inner calm, and makes us feel taller – because of the stretches that we have been doing.  It is nice to find something pleasant that I can do with my husband.

And he has become my biggest support.  It is wonderful to have my husband beside me, encouraging me, loving me, supporting me.  He have allowed me time to do things I need to do, space to have time to myself and there to support me when I need him.  It is lovely to have such encouragement within the family home.

And of course, where would I be without my wonderful friends, Cassie, Grace, Zenobia, Tee, Deryn – all have passed on such loving and encouraging words to me lately, and I appreciate that.  It is nice to have friends who take the time out of their day to send me an email to say – thinking of you!

So, things are looking up, and hopefully I can start getting back into some writing, and then I can have more interesting things to write about than my mental state – although it is fun trying to untangle threads that are knotted up within your brain – NOT!

But here is something to consider:

I want my laptop with me, and a bed by the window!

Morning Routine

Mornings can be chaotic in our house.  Sometimes I just need to stop and chill before starting my day.

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The alarm goes off at 5:45am – and I am up for the day.  People ask me why I get up so early.  Two reasons:  First, we live 45 minutes from town, my husband gets up early to get to work on time.  Secondly – I am not a morning person.  I need to be up a few hours before I am human enough to talk to anyone – and coffee doesn’t work for me  🙂

So 5:45 I am up, turning on the jug, feeding the cats, and emptying out the dishwasher, getting the breakfast dishes ready.  Normally I make a coffee for my beloved, and a tea for myself, tuck my laptop under my wing and head back to bed.  I watch Breakfast in bed, I like to know what news has happened overnight.  6:15am my beloved is up and has a shower, and I stay in bed, often snuggling with my son and often the cats (especially if it is cold) and checking my emails and facebook page.

6:45 I am up and having a shower, drying and styling my hair and moisturising my face – because it really needs it!  Then begins the hectic bit.  If we have the steppies over, then Mondays are full of kids bustling about the kitchen, husband complaining about how late he is, and kids, bags and husbands heading out the door.

View from dining window

Breakfast is my favourite time of the morning.  This is the fun bit for me.  This is where I centre myself and make myself take a deep breath, and prepare for the day.  I always have porridge (rolled oats) for breakfast, and sitting at the table, with the curtain pulled so I can look outside.  We have large picture windows, and I love looking out of them, regardless of the day.  Today it is foggy, and the trees are emerging from the mist, most of the park is a vast open space of fog.  I love it!  I eat my breakfast, complete my dairy for the previous day and just sit and watch, allowing myself to just be for the ten minutes that I have to myself.

I assess myself during this period.  I make sure that I am feeling okay – not health wise, but mental health wise.  If not, I say a quick prayer asking for the grace to make it through the day.  It is important that I make this time for myself.  I even do it in the weekend (although I am not up so early).

Even if the routine changes at all (like my beloved working night shift), I still have that ten minutes just eating my breakfast, allowing myself to just be, to exist.

The the world focuses back on my house, tidying away dishes, getting youngest son organised for school, making sure he has his uniform on, lunchbox in his bag, homework pack in his bag.  Then I make sure I have my lunch, my work in my bag.  Makeup time, and out the door to my busy day.

Just taking those ten minutes over breakfast, just to survey the world, make sure I am okay, gives me the strength to continue on with my day.  I work about 4 – 5 hours a day, in a school full of boisterous children.  Being an introvert, I need my space, and I often don’t get this at work, so I need to create my bubble of space before I start my day.  When I get home, I can create my bubble again.

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So if you want to be centred for the day, take some time out for yourself while having your breakfast.  Even if it is reading, or just checking up on your emails, take that time to make sure you are feeling well and able to continue on with your day.

One Day at a Time

Before I was diagnosed with depression, I had been slowly increasing in weight, just one of those things that happens as you get older and your metabolism slows down – well that’s what I tell myself anyway.  The fact is that the weight became quite an issue during my depression and often contributed to my feelings of sadness.

And while I was on antidepressants (that actually make you increase weight) I changed my contraceptive pill because the one I was on was no longer subsidize, so they slapped me onto the free one.  Biggest mistake ever.

Overnight, I doubled in weight – well, that is what it felt like anyway.  I ended up back at the doctors in tears because it wasn’t working, and as a result I was taken off the contraception pill and offered and IUD – uh uh – been there, done that, very bloody painful – I couldn’t put my body through that again, especially not with the feelings and emotions and the state of mind that I was going through at the time.  (I have since been back to the Doc and now on the waiting list at the hospital to have my tubes clipped).

As a result, I finally tipped the scales at 82kgs – which is a hard figure to say.scale1  While I am tall, and  everyone says “you hide it well” .  The fact is, I am big, I know I am big, and I hate being big.  I hate what it does to my self esteem, and I hate that I am unmotivated enough to stick on a diet or exercise program long enough for me to shift the weight.

I have been plodding along lately, looking into things, but making myself more upset as the weeks go by, because I know it is a battle to stay on a plan.

Until this morning.

I don’t know what it was that made me think of it.  Perhaps it was God, just prodding me.  Either way, I had an epiphany.

I don’t have to go on a diet plan for a sustained period of time.  I only have to do it for today.

Now you might think that that is extremely strange thinking, but let me explain this out further.

I exist day to day.  My mind is like swiss cheese, so I have a weekly planner on my fridge where I put all my appointments and plans for the coming week.  I don’t try and think about what is coming up tomorrow, I only focus on today.  This makes me happier in myself, just to get to the end of today and know that I have accomplished what I needed to do today.  So I only need to focus on what I eat and the exercise that I do today.  Tomorrow is another new day.  Tomorrow will be today.  Today I only need to focus on what I eat and the exercise that I do today.  Follow me now?

This is probably the simplest thing thing that I can do.  I can’t focus on being on a diet for 10 days, but I can focus each day for 10 days.

And I am not talking about a DIET diet, (you know, die with a t on the end), I am talking more about sensible food choices.  I brought a large tin of beetroot last week and put it into a plastic container in the fridge.  When I feel like a snack, I have a few pieces of beetroot.  It is sweet enough to sooth any sugar cravings, and I can generally eat as much as I like, because it is a vegetable.  I have celery in the fridge, along with salad materials (although they ain’t cheap at this time of the year in NZ!), tinned peaches.  I have started making my own soups and bread buns for work, and I am trying to cut down on the amount of sugar and fat that goes into my body.

As for exercise… well I think I might just get an exercise jar started, similar to my inspiration jar, but with 10 minutes of exercises I can do – like sit ups and press ups, squats and leg extensions, cross trainer, yoga, stretches.  10 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot, but that is an extra 10 minutes that I would have done, unless I found the 10 minutes to do it.

So each day, I am going to focus on what I can do in that day.  And if I don’t have a good day – well there is always tomorrow, and nothing to beat myself up over.

 

Being Selfish

I am selfish.  There I have said it.  I am selfish and I love it.  Why?  Because it is all about me.  Me, me, me.

One thing I have learnt throughout my experience with depression, and that is I need to look after me, first and foremost.  If I can’t, then I am no good to anyone.

We just had a family holiday in the lovely Golden Bay and we stayed with friends.  There were millions of kids (okay, slight exaggeration, but it felt like millions of them sometimes), and while I loved spending time with them, I found them draining.  Not because they were sucking the life out of me, but because I wasn’t taking time out for me.

So I lost it.  Literally lost myself.  I felt tearful, cranky, lost – I really felt lost!  We had gone down the beach for a barbeque, and I just didn’t know what to do with myself, so I went away, took my book and set myself up in a quiet little reserve.  I stayed there, for at least an hour.  By the time I came back, I felt semi normal again, normal enough at least to deal with the kids that were around.

Unfortunately it does have an effect on the children when I withdraw.  They wonder why I HAD to go away, it is hard to explain to other children that I need to do that, and that it has nothing to do with them.  My own family understand, but even my son struggles with my concept of space.  Everytime I withdraw, he clings to me, wanting me to come back, wanting the mummy that he used to have.  And one day, I will be that person.  He is slowly understanding that Mum needs the time out to be who she was again, that if he gives me the space, that I come back happier than before.

I also have to learn to say No to people and things.  No to the jobs I don’t want to do, or can’t do as the case may be.  I have to say no to myself too, because I can’t always have what I want, but the end result is that I become a better person for being able to say no, and in a nice way too.  A way that makes it plain that I am not interested in helping out and I won’t be changing my mind.

So that is why I am selfish.  A horrible nasty selfish person, who is extremely happy with her progress so far!

A Valuable Lesson

I have recently started work at the local school, working with the Year 9’s (13 year olds)

Bangs Head on Desk by Tolan88 @ deviantart

and I am really enjoying this.  I work all day Monday, half day Tuesday, couple of hours on Wednesday.

Last week, I also had my Avon boss send through a ton of work that needed to be done, including meeting with her on Thursday to get some preparation done for the Sales Event (where we showcase some of the upcoming products and congratulate our top sellers).

By Monday night my brain was frizzled.  I was in bed by 7:30pm and asleep not long after, it was just such a tiring day (though not as tiring as working with the primary school!)

Tuesday I had a lot of paperwork and stuff to do and I was struggling to keep on top of things.  By Wednesday, I knew I had a day in town, so I did it, but I got home late and upset my son because I wasn’t there to pick him up from school.

I read somewhere the some stress is good in your life, but I learnt last week that stress is not a good thing for me.  If I hadn’t been on my antidepressants, I think I would have lost the plot totally and been a bawling mess by Tuesday.  Instead, I knew I was getting wound up and that I would have to keep going.

My Valuable Lesson?  Don’t take on too much, it just isn’t going to work for me.  Even being on the medication I felt very on the edge – if I hadn’t recently changed, I think it would have been rather disastrous, but I feel more in control with these new tablets, I can see the changes that I wasn’t quite getting on the last ones.

As a result of my extremely busy week, I didn’t get much writing done – none until Friday and since then I have accomplished 2500 odd words, and figured out how to make Medusa change without her head being removed – still as gory though, hopefully!  I love having some gore in the middle of a romance – mwhahahaha!