Best Of Luck In 2018!

Well, that about does it for 2017. It’s been quite a year with a lot of ups and some downs. I was hospitalized three times earlier in the year (March, May, and June) but have since been doing better. I had some new medications added to my daily schedule but have been cutting back on others. I think Dr W and I are getting closer to finding a good balance.

I had my last appointment with Dr C back in August and switched over to Dr P; things have been going well. We’ve found some success with ACT in addition to the CBT I was already doing, and between what I’ve learned in therapy and while I was in the hospital, I’m getting pretty good at mindfulness exercises and being mindful throughout the day.

I can drive farther than I could at this point last year. It’s still not very far but it’s an improvement. I rode my motorcycle for the first time in two years, too, and ended up taking a trip around the city, which was about an hour of riding.

I’m having fewer panic attacks and nightmares than I used to. I used to average 6-8 really bad nightmares every night but I’m down to 0-2 on average, and they’re not as vivid as they used to be.

Some of my OCD symptoms have been creeping back. I’m having a lot of trouble with locks again – house, garage, and vehicle. J checks everything before we go to bed but I struggle to keep myself from going to the back window and staring at the garage door to make sure it’s closed.

One of my uncles found out he had cancer but had surgery and is now doing great. Another one of my uncles has what the doctors are pretty sure is ALS but he’s in really good spirits.

J got a promotion at work and is enjoying her new responsibilities. I’m very proud of her and amazed at the effort she puts into her work.

Family has made the trip out here quite a few times this year and it was great to see everyone and have them around. I was really happy to see my sister and her family for a short while this holiday season, too.

I’ve been getting out of the house a lot more this year than I did last year. I’ve had a good time getting together with DA, FA, and WG and am lucky to have friends like them.

I’m a little anxious about what 2018 has in store. I hope I continue to get better and don’t need another hospitalization. If it happens, it happens, but I hope that therapy and outpatient treatment will be enough from now on.

I’m also anxious about work. I have no idea when I’ll be ready to return, and no idea what work will be like when I do. In April it will be two years since I’ve been away, and in November it will be two years since I went on disability. I’m worried that I’ll be at work for a week and then end up back in the hospital again. I think about work a lot, and I probably shouldn’t.

I think I want to try volunteering somewhere or taking a course in something. Something different that will be a bit of a challenge but not something that takes all of my time or can’t tolerate me missing a couple of days here and there. It would be another way to stretch my boundaries a bit I think.

I’m already thinking about next Christmas. I would really like to be able to go to my parents’ place and stay there for the holidays like J and I used to do before I got sick. It would be wonderful if my sister and her family were there, too.

I’m also anxious about whether I’m being a good husband, son, uncle, nephew, friend… whether I’m being a good person. I am very grateful for my family and friends and everything they do and I hope that everyone knows that.

More than anything, I’m anxious about not knowing what may be on its way. I feel like I need to be prepared for every possibility but I know that’s an impossible task. I will try to be flexible and able to adjust to things as time goes on. I’m sure there will be things that I will find overwhelming but I will try to remember that everything can be done eventually if you break it down into small enough steps.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Stay safe.

Holidays Are Going Well

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 1

The holiday season is going better than I expected. I feel pretty decent, the big crunch day is over, and I don’t think I’ve made anyone angry. I still feel guilty and a little sad about not being able to make it to my parents’ and in-laws’ places but feeling guilty and a little sad is okay.

My sister and her family drove into town today to catch a plane back home. I didn’t see them this time, but my dad stopped in for a short visit after he’d dropped them off at the terminal. We had a good chat and swapped some stories before he hit the road for home. It was nice that he took a little detour on his way home to stop in and say hello.

I’m grateful for the three or so hours that my sister and her family were able to spend here with J and I last week. It was really good to see them and my nephews amaze me with how much they’ve grown every time I see them. I’m also feeling guilty about not seeing them more often. J and I used to fly out to see them every once in a while, but I haven’t been able to do that for a while now. Maybe someday I’ll be able to travel like that again.

Things here have been going well. J and I opened our gifts and we both did pretty darn well. The highlight for me is a Weird Al Yankovic box set that’s shaped like an accordion. Every album he’s put out, plus some extras. It’s pretty cool.

I haven’t made any trips outside lately. I’d like to say it’s because of the cold (it’s been really cold around here for the last bit) but I just haven’t been able to put the oomph into it.

I’m not sure if I’m going to make any New Year’s resolutions this year. There are some pretty generic things that I think about, like keeping mindful and trying to be a better person, but I don’t want to set anything too specific. I might sound like a bit of a wuss, but I don’t think I need to put more pressure on myself to do something. If it happens, great. If not, it’s not the end of the world.

So, yeah. Things are going along pretty well. This has been a good holiday so far, and there are only a few more days until 2018. I wonder what next year will look like.

Stay safe.

Six Months

Song: “Mama Let Him Play” by Jerry Doucette

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 2

Six months ago today, I was discharged from my most recent stay on the psych ward. This is a pretty big thing for me and I hope it means that my medications and therapy are doing the trick. I still get bad thoughts and nightmares, and my OCD has been a little worse lately, but I think that things overall are still improving.

My record is about seven months, which came after my first hospitalization. With luck, I’ll beat it this time. Who knows – maybe that last stay in the hospital will be the last time I need hospitalization for my illnesses. That would be nice, although if I need to go back, I will. I’ve been there four times already and I’m not ashamed or squeamish about going back if I need to.

I’m very lucky to have such amazing support from family, friends, and professionals. Without their support, it’s very likely I would’ve been in the hospital for a lot longer. Thank you so very much to everyone who has helped me out, checked in on me, got me to do things, or even just lent an ear when I wasn’t feeling well.

I still think about work a lot. April marks two years that I’ve been away from my job, and thinking about it still makes my stomach turn. I used to be good at my job, dammit, but I know that I can’t do it anymore. I don’t even know if there’s anything I can do yet. I still have a lot of trouble answering the phone (even when the call display shows a familiar number) and I have trouble focusing on tasks for more than a short time. I am getting better, though, and hopefully these problems will get better, too.

The thought of falling into another depression funk bothers me, too. It’s so incredibly difficult to do anything when I’m not feeling well, and all I want to do is stay in bed. I still get anxious, too, but somehow that seems to be a little easier to deal with than the depression is.

I haven’t had a panic attack for a little while, and I’ve been exposing myself to stressful situations. I went to three large, crowded stores by myself to buy Christmas gifts and, despite a woman yelling at me to get out of her way when I was standing in one aisle, I think I did pretty well.

So, yeah. I think things are getting better. I’ve still got a ways to go but with luck, this time next year I’ll have seen a good year of improvements and be back at work doing something. Wish me luck!

Stay safe.

Merry Christmas 2017!

This time of the year can be very enjoyable. It can also be very difficult. Regardless of whether you enjoy, dread, or celebrate Christmas or not, J and I hope you have a good day and that good things happen to you during this holiday season.

This will be the second Christmas in a row that I haven’t been able to drive a couple of hours to celebrate the holidays with family. Fortunately, everyone (parents, sister, and in-laws) have been very supportive and understand what’s going on. Maybe next year I will be able to make the trip.

Stay safe.

Shortest Day Of The Year

Song: “Desperado” by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0

I slept quite well last night and woke up feeling refreshed. My mindfulness and worry exercises worked well today and I didn’t have any trouble focusing. I also didn’t notice any difference at all with the reduction in haloperidol. I didn’t have any trouble getting to sleep, I’m not hearing anything, and I didn’t feel any different in the morning. Hopefully this means that sometime soon I’ll be able to stop taking it entirely.

After I was done my exercises, I decided to brave the cold and go out for a bit. It took a while to scrape the ice off the truck but when I was done I went and got gas, then drove around for a while. It was very busy out today, with lots of traffic and slow going through some places.

Since I was feeling pretty good and things were going well, I decided to throw caution to the wind and went and wandered through a couple of stores. They were all very busy but I kept telling myself that I was there for fun, not because I had to be, and I managed to keep reasonably calm.

After the last store, I decided to drive around a little bit more and that went quite well, too.

Once I got home, I wrapped J’s presents and then went downstairs to listen to music.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good day. Since it’s the winter solstice, I’m looking forward to longer days as we begin the crawl towards spring!

Stay safe.

A Little More Progress

Song: N/A

Mood: 6.5

Nightmares: 2

Today was a decent day. I didn’t sleep all that well last night so I stayed in bed a little longer than I usually do. I spent some time playing around at my electronics bench and had a good time. I didn’t actually accomplish anything but it was good to putter.

I also listened to a lot of music again today. I keep going back to that Hooked On Classics record. For whatever reason, I really enjoy it. It makes for some really good background music.

J and I got to my Dr W appointment a little early and gave the staff the box of markers and colouring books we picked up the other day. I remember when they gave me some puzzle books when I was in bad shape in the hospital and it felt really good to give something back.

My Dr W appointment went very well, too. He is pleased with how things are going and we lowered my haloperidol again, from 2mg to 1mg. Soon I won’t need it anymore and that’ll be one less medication I need to worry about. It makes me happy that things are progressing, even if it’s a little at a time. We agreed to keep the appointment interval at two weeks so the next time I see him it will be in 2018.

The temperature around here has dropped quite a bit over the last few days. I think I’m going to head out in the truck tomorrow to drive around a bit and get some gas. If I’m feeling brave I may try to go into a store or two. Wish me luck!

Stay safe.

Very Anxious Today

Song: “Beds Are Burning” by Midnight Oil

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 2

Today’s been a bit more difficult than most of the days have been recently. I didn’t sleep all that great and when I got up this morning I was even more anxious than I was yesterday. J had the day off (which was great) and we got everything ready for when my sister and her family stopped in.

Their plane was delayed by three hours so they got here at dusk. J had prepared snacks for everyone in case they just wanted to hit the road immediately, but fortunately they stayed here for a while. It was great to see everyone again – I can’t believe how much my nephews have grown – and we had snacks and a good chat.

I don’t know why I was so anxious about today. I’m feeling quite a bit better now but I’m still anxious. Everything went swimmingly, and they’re family for Pete’s sake. I guess I just don’t want anyone to be left out or upset by something I did or didn’t do. Fortunately, J was here and everything’s better when she’s around.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr W. It will probably be the last one for 2017. Man, this year just flew by.

Stay safe.

Feeling Pretty Anxious

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 1

I got a bad headache last night before bed. I’m not sure where it came from but it was a doozy. I went to bed early to try and get rid of it but when I got up this morning it was still there. It’s a lot better now but it’s still echoing around inside of my head, getting in the way of my thinking.

My sister and her family arrive tomorrow. I’m very anxious. I’m really looking forward to seeing them again and they’re only going to be here for a couple of hours, but I’m anxious about the visit. I just want everything to go well and for everyone to be happy. I shouldn’t be this anxious – they’re family, after all – but I can’t help it.

It was another difficult day for concentrating during my mindfulness and worry exercises. My mind kept wandering to tomorrow and whether the garage door was closed. I tried just letting the thoughts happen and fade into the distance but instead of fading it was like they were knocking on the door, expecting me to answer and give them time. It’s a little frustrating.

My sister and her family gets into the airport at about 1PM. J and I are going to go to bed early this evening and get up early to make sure the house is in tip-top shape when they arrive. Wish us luck!

Stay safe.

And Another Good Weekend Flies By

Song: “Mony Mony” by Billy Idol

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 0?

This weekend was good but went by far too quickly. I didn’t sleep very well last night. I kept waking up all sweaty and breathless but I don’t remember having nightmares. It felt like I did, but usually I remember them when they wake me up.

I didn’t accomplish a whole lot of anything this weekend but I had a good time. J and I watched Arrival and The Martian on Friday and Saturday night, and went out to do a bit of shopping this afternoon. We picked up some stuff that we plan to drop off at the psych ward – markers, colouring books, notepads, that sort of thing.

My sister and her family are going to stop by for a short visit on Tuesday. I’m really looking forward to seeing them all but I must admit that I’m a little nervous. I’m not even sure why. It’s been a while since J and I have seen them so it’s great that they’re stopping in on the way to my parents’ place.

Tomorrow I plan to get together with WG to go record shopping again and then I think I’ll duck into a store or two on the way home to finish up my Christmas shopping. It’ll be nice to have it all done before the last minute rush.

For the last couple of nights, my evening medications have been kicking the heck out of me again. They used to make me really tired but for a long time now it’s felt like I haven’t even taken anything. I don’t know what’s changed. I haven’t made any changes to my morning medication, meals, or sleep time. I see Dr W on Wednesday so I can always discuss it with him then. It might mean I can reduce some of the evening stuff, which would be nice.

Stay safe.

Tired But A Good Day

Song: N/A

Mood: 7.5

Nightmares: 2

I didn’t sleep as well last night as I have been for the last couple of days. Not a big deal but it left me yawning today a little more than I would have liked.

FA came by this morning and we had a good talk before we headed off to the hardware store. There’s always interesting stuff to see at the hardware store and I enjoy chatting with FA while we do an aisle crawl. Today we were on a mission, though – we were looking for something that blinks an LED for a project that FA is working on. Something cheap and easily disassembled to get at the innards.

We didn’t have any luck at the hardware store so we went and had lunch at the burrito place again. I always get the bean and cheese burrito and it’s really good.

After lunch we headed to the local dollar store to see if we could find anything that was suitably blinky there. There were a couple of possibilities and FA finally settled on a little USB-powered snowman. I was very tempted to buy some candy (okay, a LOT of candy) but I managed to hold back.

After our adventure at the dollar store, we went back to the house and FA took the snowman apart to see if its innards would do the trick. It was quite interesting – just a multicoloured LED attached to the USB cable. The circuitry that made it change colours must’ve been built into the LED. Neat stuff.

My Dr P appointment was cancelled today. He was ill and couldn’t do the appointment this afternoon. That’s okay, I’m doing pretty well. I hope he’s feeling better.

After FA left, I did some laundry and listened to music. I have to admit that I’m really enjoying that Hooked On Classics album. I wonder what the musicians in the orchestra that played it thought when they first saw the sheet music for it. Probably a couple of rolled eyes here and there, I bet.

And now we’re heading into the weekend. I think it’ll go well. I’m looking forward to hanging out with J and watching a movie or two.

Have a good weekend!

Stay safe.