alpharaposa: (micahicon)
If you've read this blog long, you know I struggle off and on with depression. I usually don't feel like it's very awful depression, though. I don't get suicidal or have to take a giant pile of pills to get up every morning. I take vitamin D every day (in large quantity), but my prescription drugs are for my blood pressure, not my brain.

What I experience depression as is a strain on my resources, like wearing an invisible backpack all the time. On good days (usually in the summer), the backpack is empty and I breeze through life, getting things done and going out and meeting people. On bad days (more often in the winter), the backpack weighs 30-40 extra pounds, and just taking a shower and writing a post on livejournal is a real effort.

Last week had several difficult days. (Hormone fluctuations, I think.) But even there, I'm not as bad off as I've been in the past. Every day, I still did homeschool with the cubs, still ate properly, did some basic chores around the house (cat litter, laundry, dishes). I can remember when I was a young adult and the depression was at its worst, days when just getting out of bed and getting a shower was a major accomplishment. Compared to those days, I'm a marvel of energy.

There were things I wanted to get done last week that I didn't do. My dad had a birthday, and I barely managed to send a brief "happy birthday" to him. I didn't have the energy left for a phone call that day. I had a couple days when I was grimly getting necessary chores done even though I wanted to just sit and play video games, because I was the responsible adult in the house and the things needed to get done.

That means that I can be inconsistent in my ability to connect with people, or to get things done. I have to be careful not to overcommit during the summer, when the backpack is empty. (That old backpacking saw, an ounce in the morning is a pound at night? That's how dealing with meetings feels as the season turns from summer to fall to winter.) I rely a lot on the support I have. When the weekend arrived and my husband was home all day, I did spend some time just playing video games. And it helped, to relax a bit, like taking a breather on the trail. And maybe some of the weight fell out this weekend, too. I can feel a little drag, but it's not as bad as last week.

The main thing I ask of friends and family is to not write me off when I'm quiet or distant or haven't checked in for a while. I might just be busy or having a rough week. I still care, but some days I'm focused on what must get done, to maintain myself or my house or my family. That probably makes me a kind of difficult friend for some people, since I don't give the same level of effort into things all the time. But I'm not mad or sulking when I'm quiet. I'm just worn out for the moment. The season will turn, and things will get better again.
alpharaposa: (micahicon)
I had an eye exam for the first time in over five years on Saturday. You may or may not be aware that eyes change shape slightly during pregnancy (all the extra fluids), and my blood pressure was wonky for a while. Even once it was under control, we were moving around and busy.

But then the temple piece cracked. It still works for now, but it's a sign it's pretty much time to replace the glasses. The Wal-Mart clinic was quick, easy, and not too expensive.

However, during the exam, the eye doctor asked if my eyes water or itch. Apparently, he noticed some tiny bumps on the inside of my eyelids - a giveaway of an allergic reaction. But it wasn't enough for me to be bothered by it. My eyes didn't itch. I didn't have a runny nose.

So, yesterday, I was dragging and tired and got up too late to get ready for church on time (something I regret). I didn't feel any obvious allergic symptoms, but I was dragging and actually a little weepy feeling that morning. So, I took an antihistamine at lunch.

And hour later, I didn't feel very different physically at all, but I was no longer depressed. It was shockingly different. That morning, I'd been wondering if I needed antidepressants again. And that afternoon, I was fine. It'd been an allergic reaction. It seems that, in my body, if anything is wrong, my default error mode is to be depressed, I guess.

And this has been going on for weeks. I've been feeling a real drag and wondering what's up. I thought had to be stress, because I couldn't find any other explanation for why I was dragging just when I usually start hitting my stride after the winter bout. And it was histamines.

So, I'm very happy to have figured that out, if a little puzzled by it all.
alpharaposa: An Adventuring Bear (bear)
Church was a bit disappointing today. As I said on Twitter, it's usually a bad sign when the pastor says he was going to preach one message, but decided to be topical instead.

I'm really down today. When I stop to think about Christmas coming up, I feel teary. Since we're low on funds, I thought about writing some poetry to gift to relatives, but my heart isn't in it today. So, I decided to write prayer instead.

A winter collect:
Loving Father, who sent your Son to save the world,
Grant strength and comfort to those of us who falter in winter, that we may continue to show love to those around us with Your light in our hearts;
Through Jesus Christ, Wonderful Counselor, and the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who with You reign over all the world and the powers within it. Amen.

Better than the first time I ever tried to write a collect, and heartfelt in my present state.
alpharaposa: (bedtime)
While my daily dose of 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 keeps the worst of SAD away during the winter, a solid string of rainy days can have an effect. We're on the third day straight of grey skies and rain, and I'm feeling it.

It occurs to me that this is reasonable, though. Imagine you're a hunter-gatherer stuck in a string of rainy days. You have a reasonably safe shelter. What's the better strategy? To keep moving and looking for new sources of food, or to hunker down and sleep through most of the foul weather, coming out just enough to grab a quick bite of whatever's close?

Either strategy might work, but it would really depend on the terrain as to which made more sense. Certainly, in a cold and bleak environment (such as, say, northern Europe), it might be much more sensible to conserve calories by napping through the bad weather than to slog through bad terrain looking for enough food to keep going.

Of course, I have often described myself as a "low energy" individual. I need a fair amount of sleep to stay healthy. Trying to keep up with other people's schedules can stress me to the point of physical pain if I do it long enough. I am often one of the slower people in a backpacking group, even when I'm in shape. For me, the best strategy is usually the one involving getting enough rest. I don't know how common this is in modern life.
alpharaposa: (Default)
A while back, I started taking vitamin K2 to help keep my bones and teeth strong. It comes packaged with 2000 units of D3. So, I ended up doubling my daily dose of D3 then.

Since that time, I haven't been depressed. I've had stressful days (and weeks, even) where I felt beat up at the end and needed an afternoon of goofing off to recover, but that's normal. The next day, I get up out of bed without the long, dreadful conversation with myself to get me going.

This struck me today because of DST. Here it is, November, and I'm not slowing down like I normally do. Maybe I'll have a dip around the Solstice, I suppose, but 2000 units a day seems to be enough to keep me mentally healthy.

I am so grateful.
alpharaposa: (bedtime)
I'm battling burnout at work, lately. Note that this isn't stress - the workload isn't bad as the end of year press hasn't started. I'm just in a spot where a full time job and being mom to a somewhat needy toddler leaves me little to no room left for recharging my batteries. After a three day weekend, I felt better, but that feeling left after one day back at work.

So, yeah. Individual tasks are simple and easy to do, but I have a hard time getting myself to do them right now. I'm hoping to hang on, but making myself get stuff done at work is difficult right now.

Part of this means I've been daydreaming on what we can do if the hubby manages to get a job back in Indiana once he's out of school. It involves chickens and/or sheep, and probably a garden. Then I would think about everything I am not getting done around here and stress out that we probably couldn't manage such a thing, because we're such slackers, etc, etc (insert housewife guilt).

So, I thought we could do a little container garden, and if I could take care of that, then we could probably manage something bigger later...

Of course it didn't happen. When do I have time? But I was beating myself for not doing it, and thinking this meant that we wouldn't be able to tackle anything like what I was dreaming of.

Without budgeting the fact that I would no longer be working a full time job, plus we would be closer to family.

So, this afternoon, while thinking about other things, it suddenly hit me what I'd been doing to myself. I laughed. It doesn't fix the burnout, but at least I'm not beating myself for not doing something that was practically impossible anyway.
alpharaposa: (Default)
Which is appropriate. For those of us with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or "Winter Blues"), February is the longest month of the year. The Vitamin D is a tremendous help, but even with a daily dose of 1000 IU, we had a string of rainy days that were starting to drag me down.

Yesterday was sunny again for a few hours and I walked outside for a bit, so I'm back to "feeling good".

Anyway. It just goes to show how mental health is such a delicate balance. The strangest things turn out to be vitally important. What you eat, or how much sunshine you get, or even the people you decide to hang out with.

If you're having problems, the first thing you need to do is get some support. Your support network of friends and family will make the difference. Most of us have a network we're hardly even aware of.
alpharaposa: (carpetnap)
Work piles up at, well, work. Got more to do than I can actually do, and currently I can't really work a lot of overtime as it would stress my body far more than it can take for now.

Early this afternoon, I was feeling frustrated and fed up and weepy. I've been pretty good most of this winter, but the best of winters still has its "I feel like crawling into a corner now" moments.

It's mostly worn off, but I'm still more down than I have been. I want to be close to friends and family that can drop by and chat, or take me out to dinner or a walk. The hubbie's great, but most of the other folks we would hang out with have moved away, and the group we're cultivating isn't that close, yet. Makes me feel like a tree with bare roots. One big storm...

So, prayers appreciated, as always. Lovely and funny things to cheer me up also appreciated.

Tired

Oct. 25th, 2009 04:53 pm
alpharaposa: (carpetnap)
Went grocery shopping, picked up a couple pounds of Maple sausage instead of Hot. We don't eat Maple flavored sausage, ever. Frustrated.

Little things like that are worse in the winter. Feel like I need a weekend outside to shake off the stress. Trees are starting to turn. It would be nice to take a walk under red and yellow leaves.
alpharaposa: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]

Most folks who read my livejournal are aware I have SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder. That's the official term for "Winter Blues", where you get less energy and get more depressed as the days get shorter and the sunlight gets weaker.

Finding ways to cope is important!

First of all, I make sure to get lighting, especially in the morning. I have a set of florescent lights by the computer. When I do my morning reading, I turn them on so I can get some extra light.

Music helps to keep me going when I'm feeling down. I find it easier to do things around the house if there's music playing.

I also tend to sleep longer. I plan for this, scheduling nine hours for sleep whenever I can. Warm blankets and purring kitty cats are a must!

Lastly, I have a bad habit of chowing down on baked goods this time of year. Not only is it the feasting/dessert season, but carbs are my own comfort, along with cream.
alpharaposa: (Default)
Yesterday seems to have been partly hormones. Thank goodness. I'm sitting by my lights right now as I type, charging up my batteries.
alpharaposa: (Default)
I stayed up late last night, and around 2:30 I realized why I was still awake. I was trying to put off Monday. When I would go to sleep, then Monday would be upon me when I woke up, and I didn't want to deal with it.

But we have to deal with these things, and the longer I put it off, the worse it would be for me in the morning. So, I persuaded myself to go to bed.

Now, this morning, I made myself make the phone calls necessary. That was also hard. I knew it would be hard. It's tempting to just pull the covers over my head and wait for it to be over.

But I'm not a kid. Nobody else will step in and magically take care of everything while I do that.

It's important to know why you do things when you have mental health issues. I knew this would be hard, so I first tried to put it off by not going to bed (if I don't go to sleep, tomorrow won't come until I'm ready). Tomorrow comes whether or not you're ready. When I finally went to bed last night, I prayed for strength for tomorrow. And tonight, I will do it again.

This morning, I pray for strength for today. There are things to get done that I haven't been doing. I may not want to do them, but I want things to be better, so they must be done.

I know I'm a little depressed and a lot stressed, but I'm not to the point where I'm helpless. That's what I can prevent by doing what needs to be done. If I give in and hide under the covers, things will spiral out of control. If I take responsibility and work on things, even if just a little at a time, I can at least tread water, and I hope to gain ground.

I will gain ground. I will get bills paid and chores done.
alpharaposa: (carpetnap)
Got to work today, saw what was waiting for me, and simply could not do it. I went to the bathroom, cried some, then left an email for my supervisor and told the Spherion rep that I was heading out.

I've been managing each day, one at a time, but today, there was nothing left in the tap.

So I came home, and discovered that I'd left Percivale locked up in the bathroom. I'd forgotten even to take care of my kitties when I'd left this morning.

Today is going to be a day of tears and rest. I may not want it to be, but that's reality. I'm glad I didn't break on the phone with a customer, or make a big scene. I'm home with most of my dignity intact.

I just wish my support was closer. Detachments suck.
alpharaposa: (bedtime)
wiki article

A bit of a refutation

It's a very immediate thought for me. [livejournal.com profile] collinsmom says that February is the longest month of the year. There's some reason for that - even though the days are longer than in December, they're also gloomier, and there's the whole weight of the winter months piled up on top. February is the endurance slog of SAD, where sufferers try to hold out until March gets here and spring gets underway.

So, the idea that the most depressing day of the year would be in late January isn't that odd to me. I don't think the day itself would be notably worse than the day before it, but that might be the time when pressures are the worst and hope is the farthest off.

I have seen one early sign of spring, though. There are Cadbury eggs at the local Wa-Wa.

EDIT: looking into depression in late fall also makes sense to me. Every year, that's when I first feel the effects of the shortening days. You don't go looking for help when you're at your worst- you look when you first suspect there's a problem.

Tired...

Feb. 13th, 2007 11:15 am
alpharaposa: (carpetnap)
I have been just plain tired lately. I'm sleeping plenty, so I suspect it to be the main method in which my SAD is manifesting this year.

Went to bed early last night, in fact, and slept this morning until 8:30 or so. At least ten hours, there, maybe more. I'm not sure exactly when I got to sleep, so I'm not sure of the exact amount.

And yet, I feel like I could use a nap.

Unfortunately, when I have napped in the late morning or early afternoon, I've had problems getting to sleep again that night. *sigh* So, I think I shall have to resign myself to being tired.

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