Tag Archives: Depression

What it is like

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Social media can truly be a miracle sometimes. When asked a question you have time to think without your facial expression giving it away or making it awkward. It is a small thing but one I find very helpful. Recently I was talking with someone who had just gotten diagnosed with a chronic pain illness. It would be a matter of constantly managing it. She asked me, “What is it like? How do you do it? I just can’t imagine ever being okay with this. It is so distracting and I absolutely hate it.”  I agreed. I still feel all of that. It hasn’t gone away, more like it is just simmering.
Simmering, yeah that is a good description. Let’s go with that. It is a lot like cooking a meal that will never ever be done but you know it will be worth it.  It is a labor intensive meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It is like you have four pots on the stove and something in the oven.
One pot is emotional/mental health. One pot is physical health. One pot is spiritual. One pot is work and in the oven is the family. Just like in cooking you have to keep adding ingredients and it can simmer on its own for a bit but it needs a stir now and then. Every so often, and often when you feel you have it the most under control, all the pots start boiling over. Sometimes some smoke even starts coming from the oven.  Normally though the boiling over happens one at a time and you can handle it and move on. You take a taste every once in a while to check on it as a means to see how it is coming along. Sometimes tasting can tell you if there is a problem. Sometimes it tastes good but really something has started to go bad you just can’t taste it yet.
Then there is the other problem. Suddenly an ingredient is no longer working. It is no longer bonding with everything in the pot to make it one solid thing. It could be that self-care has fallen off your radar. It could be that you cut back on exercise. It could be that you thought it was self-care by sleeping in on Sunday, but really you hadn’t done anything else for spiritual health so it really wasn’t self-care. It could be that you cut back on exercise–physical health–for good reason, yet it negatively affected another part of physical health, vitamin D.  Sometimes you find an ingredient you thought would work well actually doesn’t and you have to take it back out of the pot.  Sometimes while you are disposing of that ingredient another pot starts to boil over. Don’t forget you changed the dynamics of that one pot you took the ingredient out of so you will need to adjust the temperature!
Yes, but that is essentially life isn’t it? You have to add the chronic pain as well. You are right about that, we are handling that as well. Hopefully each of the pots and the oven are helping that. Chronic pain though, that is the tricky element. That is the part that makes the ingredients suddenly stop working so well. That is the part that says, “that worked for a while, but now, not so much.”
On the really good days the chronic pain is like the background noise of the dishwasher going. You hear it, you know it’s going on. You just try not to pay too much attention to it until it dings. When it dings that is when you find out that suddenly the soap you were using didn’t work or something got gummed up in the hose and the rinse cycle didn’t go off. Sometimes there is not even running water to wash the dishes by hand while all the other stuff is happening. Chronic pain does that. You find something and your brain says, “hey, thanks this is really working,” so it starts focusing on something else more pressing.
So essential pain management just becomes part of your routine. I can’t tell you when it happens, just that it does. I can tell you that I am never okay with it. Chronic pain just adds to depression and anxiety because you are constantly longing for what you cannot have. Things you used to do are no longer an option. It took quite a bit of looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It took even longer for me to realize that what I want to do will always be in flux. Some days I am overwhelmed that my health issues are only going to get worse as I age  because they are degenerative. Degeneration is already an issue as you get older. It is just sped up in my case.
Some days though, I don’t care. I am enjoying the moment for all that it is. Those are the days that make all the above worth it. They balance out all the bad days where all the pots are boiling over there is smoke coming from the oven and the dishwasher just plain won’t work.
It takes a lot of self-analysis to make those good days happen. In the beginning, I fought that. Don’t look too closely. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If it is hanging on by a thread and still working, it isn’t broken. There comes a time though that it just doesn’t work any more. Nothing about it works and self-analysis is forced on you. You have to sit down and look at it. You have to acknowledge the problem.
Slowly you realize that sometimes you could be a bit more proactive. For a time that is all it is. A thought. You don’t act on it. Then one day you do something proactive and you see it pan out that it fixed a problem you didn’t even realize was coming. I am not saying that before you know it you are doing this all the time. I am not. I know I am not. I know there is always room for improvement.
At the end of the day, that is what I tell myself. I think about the things I handled proactively and the things I didn’t respond to that I should have. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I tell myself, we will try again. We are not going to try harder because we are already trying our hardest. We will just simply try again. I can tell you that if you keep telling yourself this each night you will believe it. I can’t tell you how long that will take. It could take months. It’s harsh to think that, Months! I can’t take months! I need a fix now! So take a deep breath and remind yourself that slow and steady cooks the meal.

 

 

Ten Things of Thankful #I lost count

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Everyone assumes that depression is straight up straight down. You are depressed or you are not. It would be fantastic if it was that clear defined.  Depression is a balance it is not just going up stairs. You find yourself looking up and you think you are doing well and you look down to see somewhere along the way you started going down again. It is very confusing and you really have no idea when you went back down. It’s a balancing act of watching where your feet are going and looking up. Sometimes those stairs turn into a tight rope. Sometimes they are large wide spaced far apart stairs. This depression path is a tough one to figure out and it is constantly changing.
 I hate getting up in the early morning but really having no reason to get up multiple days in a row has not been good for me. I am more apt to wallow. It doesn’t feel like wallowing. I can tell myself I am just resting. I have been so busy. There has been so much going on. Let’s watch some netflix. Let’s play a few games. Oh look its dinner time. The whole freaking day is gone and I am not really sure how.
By now you are probably wondering how in the world does this tie into a Ten Things of Thankful post? I promise you it does.
You see I thought I was on my way up and I look down at my feet to see I am descending. Oh. Well how did that happen? So I am thankful that I am able to see clearly I was going down. I am thankful that I was able to turn to some Buddhist readings and find comfort. Suffering just is. It isn’t personal. Once we understand that we can mover foward.
I am thankful for youtube meditations. I have a few I love and it makes my day when they upload new videos. I swear this was just the notification I needed that day to turn myself back around.
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I am thankful that we live in such a gorgeous place that we can escape at the end of the day. A few minutes of family time just strolling the beach was near Nirvanna.
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I am thankful through a lot of hard work my daughter is reading more and more. I am anxious to see where her reading level is after all that we read this Summer.  The library has had a great deal of influence on her and she is excited that she is now old enough to join a book club.
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So There it is a Ten Things of Thankful post and if that isn’t ten things I am sure the pictures make up for any slack.

Clawing my way back up;Ten things of Thankful #10thankful

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I don’t even know where to start. I haven’t written all week not because I didn’t have anything to say or to get out. I did. I just couldn’t make any of  it make sense. It wasn’t even that I couldn’t focus long enough to put it in order, it just plain didn’t make sense. It all seemed so pointless. The sneaky thing about battling depression is it starts rising so quietly some times. I was taking my meds, I was taking time for self care. I was doing the right things. It was rising though and I didn’t see it. That is the other tricky part about depression. It is not always about being sad. I still don’t even know how to describe it, but probably best would be a total lack of motivation. A general feeling of not wanting to do anything at all. It didn’t help that it had started before I went off melatonin for a week. I do this so that I don’t build up a tolerance. I know its going to be a crappy week of sleep but it does honestly help. Add on top of that a building infection, still unsure if it was teeth or sinus. Once I realized that it was all kind of attacking at once, I started attacking back. That is the thing though, you have to realize it is rising. I couldn’t organize my thoughts but my thoughts were enough to make me realize what was going on. I can only be THANKFUL for Cognitive Behavior Therapy that I have done in the past that helped me realize what was going on. The frustration of my lack of motivation is what spurred me to really stop and do some CBT. I know others may be frustrated with my lack of desire to do anything but it pales in comparrison to the frustration I have for myself. I am working on that. I am a work in progress.

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First, I tackled the infection. I juiced some fresh turmeric, garlic, ginger, lemon, basil and cucumber and red onion. Just imagine swallowing fire and brimstone and you won’t be far off. It was painful to get 2.5 oz of it down three times a day but I did it. I started feeling the difference. The fatigue was lifting. The body aches subsiding back to their normal dull roar. I prefer to do things this way. It doesn’t interrupt my birth control like an antibiotic can and honestly I think it works a lot faster. Plus I don’t have to re-battle my candida issue.  THANKFUL for all I have learned about juicing and its benefits.

After eight days of no melatonin and one day of no benedryl either, I started having dreams I was in a boat. The boat was great, I was enjoying being out on the water. Then suddenly the boat was sinking. I could never find a hole. I could never find a reason. I found myself in this dream over and over. I would inspect the boat carefully, still it would sink. I even got down to a Johnny boat where I could inspect it out of the water. It still sank. I woke so congested that I think some of that sinking was signifying that I couldn’t breathe , not just the depression. Last night I took both and slept so so so so very good. Thankful!

Thankful that I had two interviews this week and several more respsonse to my applications. It seems most people have their summer nanny and are now looking for mid to late august. Not ideal but I will take it.

THankful I have friends who can and do help watch my daughter so that I can go on these interviews and even take some time for myself afterwards.

Thankful that Harp camp starts next week. We have definetely reached the part of the summer where we are both sick of each other, the kid and me.

Thankful for instagram. Yes I know it seems trite but it is true. I truly enjoy the photos and especially cherrish the #bereal ones. The ones that let me know that I am not the only one battling theses issues. I am not the only mother whith a kid who thinks she ruins everything one second and thinks she is the best mom ever the next. Lately I have also found some very helpful and inspirational quotes as well.

Thankful for my husband. He works tirelessly for our family and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that. Not only does it allow me to be here for our daughter who won’t always need me quite so much but it has also allowed me to work on my own health and recover from the damage medicating to work did to my body.

Thankful for my readers. I didn’t write this week. I honestly didn’t think anyone would notice. I so appreciate the people who took the time to email me or message me and ask if they missed a post.  Just know that I am completely dedicated to Ten Things of Thankful so even if I hit another rough patch, I will always do a Ten Things of Thankful post. even if it is just to post one thing and use the SGV (seven guard virgins)dance to get out of the others or the SBOR(secret book of rules).

Gratitude vs Depression vs Anxiety

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I have participated in Ten Things of Thankful for a few months now. Sometimes when I realize it is time to write the post I am at a loss. The things that stood out the most were the things that went so very wrong.  Things that annoyed me, frustrated me. Things to be thankful for or grateful for, not so obvious. I started just writing down something every day. It wasn’t immediate but it slowly has turned me around. I still have my days that my first response is to be grumpy and grouchy and anti-social.  It is especially easy when it is grey and overcast and nasty out. Sometimes I can in the midst of things going wrong, find the good.  I might not be happy about it but I can admit that there is something good in it. Some times I am not feeling thankful for it or even grateful for it. Just acknowledging it is the first step.

The really magical part is, reading the other blog posts. People with harder struggles then me are finding good. It really does help my depression. It’s like it forces me to think and depression doesn’t really like it when you think. Depression just wants you to listen and believe. Anxiety likes to be irrational so it too doesn’t like you to think. When you start thinking, even if it is just acknowledging what you do have, depression and anxiety have less power.

Remember that game at the arcade. Whack-a-mole. That is what it is like fighting depression and anxiety.  Sad thoughts whack. feeling helpless whack. lack of motivation-whack. whack. whack. Oh no one is  poking up. Sigh of relief. This is it. I get to rest now. I beat it. Then suddenly five moles pop up.  Sometimes I find myself angrily whacking it thinking. THINK HAPPY THOUGHTS. It works sometimes but what works best. A deep breath and then calmly thinking of good things.  It is really hard to do that second part though. I still get anxiety that spikes my heart rate and causes chest tightness and can’t breathe and omg all the things. It is really really hard to force myself to breath. To speak over the irrationality of the anxiety.

The key for me is to write a thankful each day. Even if it is at the end of the day right before I go to sleep. I did it. I found one. I am victorious over depression and anxiety just in that one thought. That is how I have clawed my way out. One thought at a time. Repeating things over and over to myself until I am so sick of it that anxiety has no power over me on that subject. Sometimes it is watching my daughter on the playground. She will not fall she will not fall she will not fall(anxiety flash) no she will  not fall. But that didn’t happen. She did not fall she did not fall. Constantly telling my anxiety it is wrong.  When things do happen that I actually worried about, I have to remind myself I did what I could. I will learn and move on. I will not dwell. No I will not dwell. WHACK WHACK WHACK stop it. I will not dwell.  The more I do this the more I have been able to tell the difference between intuition and anxiety. When my anxiety is high, I have a hard time with intuition. I can’t think with my gut at all when anxiety is around.

It also helps to write what went wrong and then write but this happened because of that so this is good. Writing what went wrong and finding the silver lining is another whack.

One positive thought at a time, I am winning. One positive thought at a time, I am thriving.

In another step out , I will be participating in BE THE VILLAGE 1000 voices of compassion #1000speak

 1000 voices from all  over the world, on the same day flooding the internet with good, positive posts. Posts about Compassion, Posts about kindness, Posts about self-compassion. Posts about caring for others, caring for the environment. Posts about Non-judgement. Spreading love all over the world. This will happen on February 20th 2015.

You can participate even if you are not a blogger! Follow the hashtag #1000speak  comment, share, like, favorite. The main point being to interact!

If you are a blogger and would like to be part of the 1000 you can request to join here.

The truth about flares

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I often get accused of being a chronic complainer.I don’t post how i feel for sympathy. Sometimes just seeing it in black and white helps me.  I just need to vomit it all out so I can move on. Its cathartic. This is not to say I don’t appreciate the comments.

Chronic illness is an asshole. Sometimes it makes me seem like an asshole. Most of the time in a flare I feel like I am being an asshole.
When I am resting I still feel like I am being lazy. I still think you are thinking I am being lazy. You can tell me all you want that you are not. When I have to cancel plans there is a part of me that feels I am just making an excuse. I know, if I went the pain would magnify. I know it.

Chronic illness makes your anxiety triple. Anxiety is an asshole too. Anxiety over what I do get done in a day. Anxiety over what I don’t get done in a day. Anxiety over what others are thinking about what I did today. Anxiety often makes me feel like I am being a complete wimp.
I feel ridiculous saying my skin hurts. Or any other body part that is acting up.
I feel like it’s an excuse even when I know the pain is too much to push through.Dishes have to get done ,I know that. It would seem standing doing dishes should be no big deal. Standing is a lot more work then we realize. There is a reason it takes babies so long to learn. There is a reason they get tired easily from it. If I do push myself my hips,knees and ankles blossom into painful bursts. If I keep pushing my hands will start to cramp up.  Have you ever tried to wash a plate and had your hand cramp. Most times I break the plate. It would make sense to stop doing the dishes before that happens. That is the thing though, the frustration, you don’t want to stop.

I am just as frustrated about my body flaring as you are, if not more. My brain is still functioning and often going a thousand miles a minute. I am thinking of all the things I need to get done. The things I should be doing. It is even more frustrating to feel somewhat okay while laying down yet, within five minutes of being up doing things, you are exhausted and often shaking.

I have a tendency to emotionally eat. Yes I know I shouldn’t eat that but sometimes emotions need to be fed. I do try very hard to balance my emotional eating with healthy eating. I do aim for that balance. I know full well I will pay for it later. Sometimes I feel it is worth it. Sometimes later when I am paying for it, I think I was being stupid. Just because I ate it yesterday or last week or last month doesn’t mean I can eat it during a flare. I could have eaten it yesterday and today it makes me want to vomit. I could have had it at lunch and my stomach tolerated it just fine. Eating it with dinner, not so much. It can be as small as garlic or lemon or as big as chicken. There is often no rhyme or reason to it.

So there it is the cold hard truth about flares and complaining.

The real cost of being sick

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 There is so much more to chronic illness expenses than doctors appointments, tests, and prescriptions. Those are the more obvious expenses. Those are costs that you can control to a certain extent with the type of health insurance  you have. These are some of the less obvious costs…

Lets start with diet.  I don’t mean the kind of diet you go on when you want to lose weight. I mean the kind of diet that completely changes how you eat. I won’t say that I avoid trigger foods altogether–I am human. I know [emotional? you just said “eating” which is good!] eating it is not the best idea, but sometimes it’s emotional therapy.

Many times the prescriptions that people with chronic illness take can cause digestion and gastrointestinal  issues as well. What that means for me is I can not rely on a good quality multivitamin to catch any lapse in diet. A good quality highly absorbable multivitamin can cost fifteen dollars or more per month.

The reality is fresh fruits and vegetables cost almost twice as much as canned or frozen fruit. Why is this an issue? Well this ties into the digestion issues. Many people with chronic illness cannot process the additives, extra sugar, processed sugar, and preservatives as well. This makes canned and frozen fruits not the best choice. I am not saying I never get these but its not my preferred choice, and I always have more issues after eating these foods.  I am lucky in my diet the only issues I have are preservatives, additives, lactose and corn.  This still makes it difficult, it could be so much worse.

While my family normally tend to be fairly healthy eating to begin with even before I got sick, it’s not even a choice now. It is how we have to live.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, just another hidden cost people don’t think about. I did do about six weeks of juicing with fresh fruits and veggies. It worked really well, and I did feel better. It cost me  about forty dollars a week. When it came down to it, I had to start focusing on making sure my family had enough groceries for the week and not just enough to juice.  Its great to juice or make smoothies, but I still have to feed my family.

Next we have what I like to call my toolbox. A list of things that you can do to help alleviate some of the chronic pain that goes along with chronic illness. Oh just take an Epsom salt bath every night. I use Icy hot and love it. Pick up some Tiger Balm. Pain patches, supplements, and exercise are what helps me.  It is one thing to say that but here is the hidden cost.  To be effective you need to use at least a cup of Epsom salt per bath, while recommended amount is two. At one point in order to take a just plain Epsom salt bath every night I was paying roughly fifteen dollars for salt each week.  This is just plain epsom salts. This was not for the ones that have added benefits of lavender or menthol or eucalyptus, rosemary or ginger added to them.  Not to mention its not like I can just jump into the bath tub any old time I need to.

Then you also pick up a variation of rubs, creams, and ointments. Each of these run from as cheap as five dollars up to twenty  bucks each. Since we often use them multiple times daily, we might get a week or two out of a tube or bottle–if we are lucky. Pain patches, however wonderful they are, are one short use and they are done. Five dollars for five patches that if you stretch it can last you four days. It gets to a point that you can easily be spending fifty to sixty dollars a month on these kinds of things.

There are some more natural remedies that you can take to help bolster the prescriptions that often you have to take. I have gone off a lot of prescription medications and have gotten down to my bare essentials so to speak. My bare essential prescription cost is about  [$150] {or} [One hundred fifty] every three months.  It was almost that a month at one point in time.

It is easy to say “go pick up a supplement.” Looking at quality matters a lot here. Turmeric, which is great for chronic pain, is a minimum of ten dollars for a month supply. Then often people in chronic pain use Magnesium which can be relatively cheap, again the type and quality counts here. The one I have had the best success with is fifteen dollars a month. I use a strong omega three supplement as I have both heart issues and mental health issues, and that helps with both.  I also take Melatonin as opposed to a prescription sleeping aid.  It is not hard for me to spend fifty dollars or more on supplements [a month? how long?]. Fifty dollars is where I am at right now with just the basic cannot-do-without supplements.

This is really just the first layer of unseen costs of being chronically ill.  This is not even taking into consideration that the kind of mattress you sleep on matters, keeping shoes fresh and supportive by changing them out every three to six months.

This does not even take into consideration that people that have chronic illnesses tend to not be able to work but yet not meet the terms for disability through the government.  I am lucky I have decent insurance and my costs are low comparatively speaking. Shockingly enough, to many the answer is not through medicaid, I actually paid more and struggled more going through the medicaid system.  The stress the system puts you through to jump through the hoops to get what you need……it’s unbelievable.  Even with the good insurance we have now my out of pocket expenses are anywhere from 100-150 a month. This is not including prescriptions that are significantly cheaper with insurance.  This is what I have it boiled down to as essentials. It could easily be twice that.

I often deal with people who are very flippant about my chronic issues because they are not visible nor are they the same from day-to-day.  To date my diagnoses are: Myofascial Pain Syndrome; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Fibromyalgia; Degenerative Disc Disease of cervical, thoracic , and lumbar spine; Irritable Bowl Syndrome triggered by a corn intolerance; Supra-Ventricular Tachycardia;  Raynauds; malabsorption of Vitamin D, Potassium, and Magnesium; severe outdoor allergies which borders on allergic asthma; OCD with tendrils of ADD.

I don’t look sick. I don’t like to talk about being sick or what I can or can’t do. If I am discussing it in detail with you, I trust you a lot.  I am not willing to continually prove my conditions to people over and over. What would I do to do that? Carry X-rays and MRI reports and blood test results around with me constantly? I am not being lazy or taking the easy way out and yes I can read that in your eyes. After dealing with Doctor after Doctor after Doctor who did not believe me, I can tell exactly who does and doesn’t believe me. Some of the disbelief comes because I was super active and really did a lot one day. The next day it takes everything I have to get out of bed. I am paying for being so active. When you have a kid, you tend to push yourself to do more, for them.

I have gone through the disability process with the government. Essentially they believe I have the issues I have but because I can parent to some extent and function to some extent, I am not disabled. What I was doing when I was working and trying to parent was not functioning.  I was a mess. I could not enjoy any time with my daughter. I focused on getting through the day til I could medicate and hopefully sleep. I had no quality of life, not to mention the immense damage to my organs that the prescriptions were doing. It has taken two years off of three medications to get my liver and kidney functions to somewhat normal levels. TWO YEARS.

It has been a long hard road to get my health back to some extent.  We are lucky that we have family and close  friends who understand and help us. We are functioning, barely, at a fourth of what we were earning when both of us worked full time, and this is with my husband working two jobs to help support us. If anything ever happened and he could not work, we would be completely screwed.

************************************** some exciting news in store***********************************************************

 

Below is a brief outline of the campaign, which illustrates what we’re trying to achieve and how people living with chronic conditions can help.

 

Via the “Hidden Cost of Chronic Illness” campaign, Debt Advisory Centre aims to raise awareness and visibility of the challenges faced by those living with chronic and ‘invisible’ conditions. We’re also conducting our own research into perceptions of chronic illness, especially in relation to the work environment.

 

 

We’d like to know the following about the patients that use your services;

 

  • How long they’ve had their condition.
  • What their specific condition is.
  • How it affects them (professionally, socially, emotionally)
  • What things they have to purchase in relation to their condition.
  • What other financial disadvantages they face.
  • Roughly how much they spend per month in relation to their condition.
  • How they feel others perceive their condition (employers, friends, strangers)

We’re keen to gather as much user-generated content as possible and welcome contributions via email and video.

 

Once we’ve gathered the information, we’ll combine it with research we’ve conducted ourselves and research supplied by other organisations ourselves. We’ll then be distributing and sharing those findings with the media.

 

Patients can find out more by visiting the campaign page http://www.debtadvisorycentre.co.uk/advice/Illness-and-Debt-What-are-the-Hidden-Costs-of-Chronic-Illness-0-4163-0.html

 

Please note, if you aren’t already aware, that Debt Advisory Centre is a fee-charging debt solutions provider and not a charity.

 

Start

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That is the key. First you have to start.
Many people assume because I go on walks, I am feeling better. It looks impressive that I walked two miles.It is impressive but it did not happen overnight. I has been over a year though since I started walking and it has been slow and steady increase.

When I first started half a mile completely fried me for the day. It was all I could do to make it back to the house.

I didn’t give up though. I kept doing it. First it was one walk every three days.. Then every other day.. then every day.

This allowed me to ease  my Fibromyalgia and arthritis ridden body  to walking. Giving myself time to deal with flares when they happen.

It wasn’t about stopping when I hurt. If I did that I would never get anywhere. You will find that there is a period of time that the walking makes you feel better. It is typically ten minutes into the walk for me. Then I can go for a bit a feel pretty decent. Then the pain returns. That’s when it is time to turn around or be heading back.

Be gentle with yourself. Fibromyalgia does not like it when we try to minimize its impact on us. Remember that you need rest after these walks. Typically there is not a lot left for me to do for the day when I take my walks. If I take them too early in the morning I am completely fried for the day.

Track your walks with a pedometer. I use an app on my phone. It helps to keep you on schedule with walking. It is also an added bonus of something to show your doctor to show you are trying.  It is also fun to see the patterns you walk on the GPS mapping part of it, at least for me it is.

It is also important to remember to hydrate yourself. If you don’t like the taste of water. I recommend chugging at least eight oz of water prior and after the walks. Remember to keep hydrating through out the day.  I have found that people with Fibromyalgia need more hydration that normal.  It helps your muscles in so many ways.

Something else that helps is having someone else go on the walks with you. When I first started out I went with my husband or my best friend, neither of them have chronic illnesses but, they know when I am pushing myself too much. Now I tend to walk with another friend who has chronic illnesses. We keep each other accountable for walking. Now we tend to walk twice a week and we are averaging two and half miles. Sometimes it is too much for me, sometimes it is too much for her. We get each other through it.

Keep playing around with it and find what works for you. It maybe that it works better for you to walk in the morning. It maybe something you do by yourself,for yourself. I promise you will find it helps in so many ways than just exhausting you.

Walking can help improve your mental state, ease anxiety, it boosts your energy levels, it increases your Vitamin D intake(since most people walk outside in the sun). It strengthens your heart and other muscles, it aids weight loss. It can also help prevent dementia and lower the risk for other disease. I also find that when I am dedicated to walking, I sleep better at night too.

It is to your benefit to get out there and walk. So get out there and just START!

 

Battling depression is hard work

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Depression is so tricky and tempting. Once it has it’s grip, it does not like to let go.

It is this soft voice that says ” it is so much easier to just stick with what we know.”

It lulls us into thinking it is okay to always want to escape reality…into our dreams…into books…into anything so that we don’t have to confront the feelings and deal with them.

Little do the people around us know or realize that just getting out of bed was a fifteen minute mental battle. The pro’s and con’s of getting out of bed, of deciding to confront the day instead of burrowing back under the covers. We have spent energy on this mental battle before we even get out of bed.

Medication helps, sometimes, but it is not going to do the work for you.  It is not going to force you to get out of bed. It is not going to force you to be social. It is not going to force you to laugh. It helps clear the fog so that you CAN do those things.  In the end though you still have to actually do it. You have to be the louder voice, not the depression. Sometimes I have forced myself to go. Sometimes just being there is enough, I start to enjoy myself. Other times, not so much. I got back and collapsed into bed, but I did it. It is easier and easier to keep doing things, to keep pushing the comfort zone. It is also okay to still allow yourself some moping time, some resting time, some take a deep breath we are doing it time.

For years I battled it with the help of psychologist. It was helpful. It was easier. It however got the point that I needed to step out and do, not talk. I stopped going to her and put into action some of the things that I needed to do. It helped. It worked. Then it was back. Medications change and It is harder to battle it. The cycle changes but it is always cycling. It is a battle that in order to stay on top of you can’t stop thinking about it.

I am back to figuring out what I need to do for therapy again. Do I pull out the depression CBT handbook? Do I go back to a different therapist as mine retired?

Then I go back to feeling frustrated because here we are , back at this. I do well on my own for a while. Sometimes I do well for months, sometimes years. Then I begin to get tolerant to the medication, or the therapy, or even more fun, both.  It is there in the quiet moments. In the in between functioning moments, like sitting in carline to pick up the kid. The quiet moments before falling asleep at night. It is a nightly battle to say, no I AM good enough. I AM making progress. Baby steps are still progress.

I try to remember that the depression is always there. It may be laying quietly and not doing much, it is not gone. It is how it lulls you into thinking its gone. Then it rears up and the cloud is back. It is even possibly raining again.  I think part of the reason I am so aware of it is because I also have fibromyalgia. The fatigue and muscle aches and other physical manifestations of Depression are also present with Fibromyalgia. So even when I am dealing with a very low level of depression, I have the more physical stuff all the time.

It is a tiring ongoing battle but it is worth it. It is worth keeping on top of. If we don’t we loose all ground that have been making progress. I find thinking about it as not completely gone helps me stay on medications and be mindful of where I am at mentally speaking.

The quiet grief

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It is so subtle.

It is just a little niggle in the back of your heart.

People talk about a ticking biological clock but, who thinks it is still ticking after you have had a baby? It didn’t even occur to me that is what I was feeling.

After all the years of infertility, after the miscarriages you would think I would recognize it.

People talk about aching ovaries, but they don’t tell you it is your heart that aches.

My biological clock is screaming tick tick tick tick. It has me thinking about what a second child would look like. Would this baby be such a complete blend of both my husband and I as our daughter is? Would this baby have blue eyes I could get lost in like my husband and daughter do? What kind of bond would my daughter have with her newest sibling?

My brain tells me that it is not responsible to get pregnant any time soon. Financially or even medically,probably both,  it would be a disaster.

I have said I am done having kids for awhile. I mean it. I know in my brain that we are done.

Then a friend is pregnant, or someone has a baby.

I thought I had worked through this and was on my way to I don’t know….. worrying or grieving about something else. When all of a sudden my biological clock says HELLO, I want a baby!  It just adds a little melancholy to otherwise sweet moments snuggling others babies.

It is only made worse when people ask when are you having another one. When someone complains about how chaotic it is having more than one kid. When someone asks how many kids I wanted. Just a little nudge, just a small twist. Its like a barb that is lodged in your heart and words can just nudge it just a bit, make you wince.

It is not something I bring up often because I am truly and completely happy for my friends with new babies. I am completely thrilled with hearing all the details of pregnancy and breastfeeding and all the cute little newborn things. I don’t want anyone to think they can’t tell me that stuff. I was at that place once, when we were dealing with infertility. I don’t want that strain on my friendships.

It really is this quiet grief, a grief of what can not be.

It seems in my blog reading I keep clicking on others, others about rainbow babies, and infertility and new babies. Not to say I am not happy for them, Not to say I don’t get the warm fuzzy feelings that are meant to be conveyed. Its like that small smile of happiness that doesn’t quite chase the sadness from your eyes.

I debated even publishing this. I thought well I wrote it, I got it out, so maybe now it won’t be so heavy on me. Then I thought about my readers, others who struggle with multiple chronic illnesses at a young age that know they can’t or shouldn’t have more babies.  It is a personal look deep down but so much of what we deal with is super personal. So here it is.

#Depressedbutdressed an on going battle

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Even when the depression is at its least intrusive it is there.

It is always there.

When I am smiling.

When I am doubled over in laughter.

It is there.

No matter what I am doing, anyone with depression is doing, it is the dark cloud that is always there.

Depression is very tricky. It lets you think that you are not depressed. It reels you into feeling safe.

I am not depressed anymore so I don’t need my medications.

I am not depressed anymore so I can lower my medications.

Sometimes it even lets you stop your medication.

That was when it was the easiest for it to strike again for me.

I don’t even second guess anymore that I need an anti-depressant.

It is just a fact that I do.

I also need an anti-anxiety medication.

Not everyone with depression is the same.

Depression is rarely exactly alike in two people.

I have a friend who when hers flares she sleeps and sleeps and sleeps.

When mine is bad, I can’t sleep.

There are areas that people who have depression can relate to.

It makes you feel helpless.

It makes you feel alone.

It makes you feel broken.

Depression is not just sadness. It is so much more than that.

Just like there are different types of people, there are different types of depression.

I was so easily deceived by depression. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. It was not explained properly to me so it got a good hold on me before I realized it. Clinical depression does not just mean a chemical imbalance. So much of what I was feeling is also common in OCD, which is my primary diagnosis.  That constant feeling of impending doom, you don’t know why its there but it is. There is no reason for it to be there. Some people get a feeling of despair. For me it has always been that waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling.

This is why I absolutely loved the hashtag depressedbutdressed. It’s creation was my friend Jen’s brain child. Go check her out (http://www.itsnotmyworkout.com/) Depression has many faces and this hashtag is a way of making people realize that.

I don’t remember to use it everyday. It does not have to be something you hashtag you use everyday. Actually I think if you do it looses its effect.

We need more people showing they did the hardest thing that day. They got up , they got dressed even with depression. They may be depressed but they are dressed and that is the hardest thing for someone with depression.

********** feelings of suicide or suicidal thoughts are a very real aspect of depression. If you are having such thoughts there is hope, There is help. There is a national number that can help you get the help you need. YOU DESERVE THE HELP. Don’t think these thoughts will go away and you will be okay. Pick up the phone and call. CALL NOW! 1-800-273-8255 ************************************

”I’m