October 26, 2015 by Courtney
After a really rough few weeks (months) of being so up and down that I didn’t know how I was going to feel from one minute to the next, I am starting to actually have good days, several in a row. It has been a long time since I could say that. Typically, when I have a good day, it’s followed by a rough evening of terrible anxiety, then typically a rough day the next day. Yesterday was AMAZING (all the way until bed time–no anxiety!), and I woke up this morning feeling great and hopeful! I even slept from about 9:30 until 6:30!
What is making these good days possible?
I think the number one reason why I’m starting to feel better is the change in my medication. Since going back to the Latuda (mood stabilizer), and going up on the dosage, it has helped stabilize my moods so I’m not so up and down. This medication is EXPENSIVE, but I’m finding that it is completely worth the expense. We will somehow make it work. I’m also on a new medication for my depression (Lamictal) that is supposed to be sort of a miracle medication for depression. I’m on a very low dose (working my way up), but I think the combination is working well. I’m going from four daily meds to only two, so I’m almost wondering if I was over-medicated! I’m also taking fish oil (4000mg, which is a lot!), B12, and l-methylfolate (suggested by my doctor to take with the Lamictal). I’m about to start taking my whole foods vitamins again, as well.
Another reason why I’m doing better is that I’m “faking it till I make it.” There are times when I just can’t, but I try really hard to force myself to get up, shower, get dressed, and do something with my day. I feel worse when I just allow myself to give in to the depression and lay around all day. Friday was one of those days, until I finally decided to try really hard to get myself going. I got off the couch, showered, dried my hair, put on makeup, and all those things helped me feel better. I still had a rough evening with anxiety, but it was much better than my day was.
One of the big things that my doctor told me was to have a routine each day. Not a structured schedule, but a routine in which I get up at the same time every day, go to bed around the same time every night, and no naps. I’m working on this!
Yesterday started out rough, but I got myself up and showered, and went to the Family Camp that was going on here, even though I didn’t want to. I woke up with terrible anxiety, but I pushed through it and decided to be involved with my family. I went to the Family Camp session (that Robert and I spoke at), was involved in small groups (that went really well), we made a family “shield,” went on a short hike with some other families, came back and worked on chores as a family, went to lunch as a family (in the dining hall), came back and worked on more chores (I haven’t been doing laundry or anything lately), made cupcakes, and went to a super fun costume party/pumpkin carving time here at camp. I went to bed feeling super content and just happy for the first time in a long time.
Another thing that is exciting is that I actually feel good enough mentally to start caring a little more how I take care of myself physically. I’ve been drinking a lot of Coke Zero (and I mean a LOT), drinking tons of coffee with pumpkin spice creamer, and eating a lot of junk food because I felt like it would help me feel better (self soothing). I think, though, that it honestly has been making me feel worse physically. I wrote a post about this a few weeks ago called “Health.” I am looking forward to seeking some balance in this area and I’m hoping that it’ll only help in the area of mental/emotional health as well as physical health. It helps me to make a plan, but to be balanced in my approach, so I’m starting with sodas and switching from artificial creamers to half and half (looking to eat more whole foods). I’m also reducing my carb and junk food intake (Chex Mix, chips, Little Debbie snacks, etc), and trying to have more healthy carbs when I do. This is my starting point! But these changes will be huge for my health. This is all part of my self care plan!
I also *think* I’m ready to start hiking again (I hiked with my family yesterday and LOVED it!). This is an area that has brought me great distress. I love hiking. It’s one of the things that I looked forward to every day during the summer. It felt good physically, but was also really good for me mentally/emotionally/spiritually. But starting in August, I just had no motivation or desire for it. I would make a plan only to not follow through. I would plan to hike with a friend and cancel every time. I told her last week that we need to make a plan, and she can’t let me cancel! She agreed and we plan to go this week! I am looking forward to hiking with her and exploring the back country here at camp!
Some other things that have been bringing joy and happiness are the cooler weather, listening to my Classical Christmas music (I know, it’s early… but this is actually late for me!), lots of seasonal and holiday activities with my family and friends, my fall candles, being a part of this amazing camp community/family, a clean(ish) house, laundry being caught up (thanks to my husband!), my sweet Lily (our basset/beagle mix), sitting on the porch in the cool air, having my back door open for the cool breeze to blow through, reading with/to my kids, and just all of the little things in life that there are to celebrate!
Today, I’m looking forward to a trip into town! Grocery shopping is on the list of things to do as well as getting cash for our “cash flow budget” envelopes.
Enjoy some pictures of the last few days!