Two Appointments Tomorrow

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 1

Today was pretty much like yesterday. I wandered around the house and did some stuff but nothing really worth noting. I didn’t go outside today, either.

J is coming home early tomorrow to make sure I get to my Dr P appointment. This is the first time in a long time now that she’s had to drive me, and I’m pretty embarrassed about it. Like I said in an earlier post – things are easier when she’s around.

I with I could stop catastrophizing. I’m worried about everything – the CFL bulbs around the house, the bathroom fan, the little hose that carries water from the wall to the toilet, the stove, the dishwasher, the locks, the garage door, the gate, the tires, the freezer, whether meat is properly cooked, everything.

I know my worries are irrational but I’m having trouble shaking them.

I know I can get through this stuff but it’s really disheartening to have to do it again.

I understand that Dr P and Dr W are professionals and it’s part of their job but I feel awful that I’m going to be bothering them about the same things that were causing me problems two years ago. It’s embarrassing.

Stay safe.

Starting Another Week

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 1

It took me a long time to get to sleep last night, but once I fell asleep I think I slept pretty well.

I puttered around the house for most of the day, not accomplishing much of anything but that’s okay. I didn’t go outside.

Other than that, not much going on.

Stay safe.

Worried And Confused

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 3

I slept very well on Friday night, and slept pretty well last night, so I’m pretty confident that Thursday night was just a blip.

What’s getting me right now, though, is my difficulty leaving the house. I don’t understand where it came from. I’ve always been a little awkward about going out, and for years before I started therapy I would sometimes circle the block two or three times on the way to work to make sure the garage door was closed. But there’s been nothing of this magnitude before, though.

It’s got me worried and a little down about it. Dr W has said that with mental illness, when one thing clears up another thing will often try to take its place, but I was not expecting what happened on Thursday. I’m afraid to go out now, and there’s stuff I need to do.

I think I’m going to call Dr P on Monday and see if he has any suggestions. Getting to my next appointment will be difficult.

I think I’m more comfortable when J is around. When she’s not home, I worry about whether things are locked, off, in the right place, not burning, etc. When she is home, I feel more relaxed about everything, and knowing that she’s locked the doors and checked everything makes me feel better.

I have no idea why this happened, and I really hope it’s very temporary.

Stay safe.

Day Went Okay

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Like I said in my earlier post from today, I didn’t get any sleep last night. My reaction to leaving the house yesterday really bothered me and I’m very worried that things are slipping. Lots of catastrophizing. Instead of staying in bed all night with my eyes open, I got up and tried to distract myself.

I decided that I was not going to try to take a nap because I didn’t want to change my sleep schedule if I could help it. Turns out I probably wouldn’t have been able to sleep anyway. I also decided against calling Dr W, but if things go poorly this weekend I will call on Monday morning to see if I could get in before my next appointment.

I spent some time trying to do my mindfulness and worry exercises but I couldn’t concentrate. I then spent some time watching YouTube videos and went downstairs to watch Star Trek II. Great movie.

J was worried about me and texted me once in a while to see how I was doing.

I didn’t go outside today but I may try tomorrow. I need to stop by the pharmacy.

This evening I’m just taking it easy until it’s time to go to bed. I hope that I sleep better tonight.

Stay safe.

No Sleep Again

Well, this sucks. I spent the whole night worrying again and got zero sleep. At least this time I got out of bed and puttered around a bit.

So I’m here, having breakfast and wondering if it’d be better to try and take a nap or to stay awake until bedtime so I don’t get my schedule confused.

Depending on how I feel, I may try to get in to see Dr W before my next scheduled appointment. Getting enough sleep is very important to me and I can’t afford to mess around.

Stay safe.

Having Trouble

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 2

Today started out pretty well. I got up, had breakfast, and did my exercises. I spent some time listening to music and did some writing.

I haven’t been out of the house since my Dr W appointment last week, and I haven’t been out of the house by myself since just before Christmas. This afternoon was my first Dr P appointment since early December.

It was almost impossible to leave the house. I was stuck at the front door. It was very frustrating and embarrassing, standing there jiggling the doorknob again and again as cars drove by. I KNEW the door was locked and the house was okay, but all of the doubts and fears and irrational thoughts came back. I was surprised by how bad I felt. All I wanted to do was go back inside and call Dr P to tell him I wasn’t going to be able to make it.

Somehow, I managed to get to my appointment. I got there a little late, and I don’t remember much of what we did today. I wasn’t paying attention – all I could think about was worst-case scenarios about the house, truck, garage… everything. Again, I KNEW that things were okay but I couldn’t convince myself to stop worrying. I worried about really ridiculous things, like whether the bathroom fan was still on and if the bearings were going to seize and start a fire. Silly things.

I almost left early but I stayed until the end of the session, then got home as quickly as I could. The house was, of course, just fine. I did some grounding and mindfulness exercises and they helped a little bit, but I was quite upset by what happened. It took me a while to calm down.

I knew that I was slipping a bit but I was very surprised at what happened today. This is something I need to fix, and quickly.

Stay safe.

A Bit About Eating

When my depression is running rampant, it is very difficult to muster the motivation to get out of bed or off the couch and force myself to go to the kitchen to eat something. On days like these, cooking (or even microwaving) something can be far too much for me to do. For that reason, I try to keep things around that take minimal time or effort to prepare, like cereal, yogurt, fruit, and cheese. Sometimes I’ll be lucky and there will be some leftovers in the fridge. I try to stay away from canned or frozen meals because many of them have a lot of salt and/or sugar in them. Besides, I’d rather eat cold leftover home made beef stew than warm canned stew.

Some days, I’ll have an intense craving for something sweet, like Nanaimo bar or candy. On those days it can be very difficult to clear my mind and think about anything else. I try to make sure there’s none of that stuff in the house to tempt me, but if I’m out and pick up a little bag of candy or something, I try not to beat myself up about it. Something sweet every once in a while isn’t going to be the end of the world.

Another thing that depression has done to me is mess up my feelings of hunger and satiety. It’s not that I don’t want food, it’s that I just don’t get hungry anymore. I can go through a whole day without eating anything and the only hint that I’ll get that I need to eat something is that I start to feel dizzy or shaky. The other side to this is that once I start eating, I don’t ever feel full. I’ll eat until I clear the table and have as many helpings as are available.

My solution to this is that I eat by the clock and manage portion size. Breakfast when I get up, lunch between noon and 1PM, and supper between 5 and 6PM. No snacks, and I try to only have one helping of food and then get any leftovers into the fridge quickly so I’m not tempted to have more. This has been working reasonably well so far.

Stay safe.

Some Success With The Freezer

Song: “Perform This Way” by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 2

I woke up a couple of times last night and got out of bed once to check that the garage door was closed. Other than that, it was a pretty good night.

Today has gone reasonably well. I slept a little longer than usual, and when I finally did get up, I felt more groggy than I usually do. By noon my head was finally clear.

I spent quite a bit of time today working on ERP for the downstairs freezer. I was able to open and close the lid and then not check it for hours. I went out of my way to keep my mind occupied so I think that helped a lot. It’s disheartening that I have to go through this stuff again but the good news is that this time it seems to be much easier to do. I remember when Dr C first taught me about ERP. Back then, I could only hang on for about 20 minutes before I had to check the freezer lid.

I think I’m going to work on the freezer lid again tomorrow and maybe start in on the garage door. It’s been causing me a lot of grief this last little while, and I’m getting tired of repeatedly turning on the back yard light and peeking at the door through the kitchen curtains.

I listened to a lot of music again today, and spent some time writing. I also did a load of laundry (which I’m quite behind on) and tidied up the kitchen a bit.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get away from thinking about work again today. I have no idea how things are going to work out, and that’s bothering me. There are so many variables, like how I’m doing, what am I able to do, what kinds of jobs are available to me, where I’ll be working… all kinds of stuff. I know that work should be the last thing on my mind nowadays, but I can’t help it. I did some grounding and mindfulness work to try and bring myself back to the here and now, and it helped for a while.

I have my first appointment of the year with Dr P tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to talking to him about the work and OCD issues. I wonder if he has an idea of how I can work on my anxiety around answering the phone.

J and I watched another Columbo this evening. The murderer was unlikable from nearly the beginning of the episode. Usually, the murderer is the nicest person in the world at the beginning of the episode, and goes out of their way to “help” Columbo with the mystery. As Columbo closes in, though, the murderer goes from amiable to cocky and bragging that there’s no proof. They usually just stand there with their mouths hanging open when the proof is presented. J and I like watching for the tilting point where the murderer goes from pleasant to angry and unpleasant. It’s a good show.

Stay safe.

Hobby Focus: Journalling

Hobby: Journalling

Cost: Zero if you’ve got a pen and some paper or an empty book lying around

Time Required: Completely up to you

I never used to keep a journal. It always seemed like a lot of effort to write down things that I’d probably never read again. Some people are really into it, though, and buy special books and paper and keep meticulous records of their days. There are entire books and websites dedicated to the art of journalling and how to keep track of your day. Some of the journal sites out there have pictures of amazingly decorated and very precise lettered books, but don’t feel pressured to do that. Make your journal your own.

J bought me a very nice lined book just after I started therapy, and I decided to try writing about my day. I was surprised by what it did for me.

Firstly, I found it to be a good mental exercise to jot down my experiences and thoughts from the day. I first felt a little bit of pressure to fill a whole page every day, but after a little while I realized that it was perfectly fine to have entries that were just a few lines long. It was also fine to have entries that spanned two or more pages, depending on the day, how I felt, and what was going on.

I also found that thinking about and writing down how my day went is helpful to wind down and get ready for bed. I sometimes put on some music while I’m writing and the whole process is quite relaxing. I don’t care about writing something amazing, I’m just writing for me. I don’t fret about spelling, grammar, or punctuation.

On bad days, it seems like every task is insurmountable and I can’t possibly accomplish anything. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be able to relax or be happy again. Right now I’m having trouble with my OCD again and I sometimes feel like I’m never going to be able to beat it. Reading my past journal entries from when I’ve had good days proves to me that I have had days where my anxiety, depression, and OCD aren’t trying to push me around, and I can have them again.

It also helps me keep track of anything new I’ve learned. Things like techniques and tools, what works and what doesn’t, that sort of thing. I know that some therapies work for me for some things but not for others. I can always go back and see which one’s helped me the most and when so I can put the things I’ve learned to the best use.

Even something as simple as keeping track of events can be useful. Everything from the dates of all of my hospital admissions, when things have gone really well or really badly, and when and how my medications have changed is good information to know. Sometimes there will be a pattern that emerges that can help predict how I’m going to feel in a particular situation.

Since J got me that first book, I’ve kept journalling. It’s been almost two years now. While I was in the hospital, I filled up two more books. When I started this blog, I decided that I would switch to writing about my days online. It’s still a relaxing and useful activity.

Nobody’s telling me how much I have to write, what I’m supposed to write about, what format or medium I should be writing in, or that I need to write every day. I can write about my day on a legal pad, on a computer, or even buy and decorate a special book. I can show other people my journal or keep it completely private. It’s all up to me.

Journalling has helped me feel better about myself and is a great way to keep track of my recovery (and prove to myself that I am getting better). If you’ve never tried it, I recommend giving it a shot. It doesn’t take much time, you can do it whenever you want, and you can use it to help yourself in many different ways.

Stay safe.

Trying To Tame The OCD

Song: “Perform This Way” by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic

Mood: 7

Nightmares: 1

I slept well last night, and today has been a pretty good day so far. I got up, had breakfast, and did my exercises. They went very well today – I had no trouble focusing or slowing down the traffic in my brain.

I spent some time today trying exposure and response prevention exercises to try to get a handle on the OCD that’s been making a bit of a comeback. Today I worked on the downstairs freezer and was able to keep from going and checking it for most of the day. Unfortunately, once I was downstairs for another reason, I went in and checked it without thinking. I will work on it again tomorrow, and I may try the garage door again, too.

I listened to a lot of music today, most of which was Weird Al. I’m really enjoying that box set that J got me. I also did some writing and did some reading on a couple of other mental health websites. There sure are a lot out there, and some of them are really helpful.

I also spent some time thinking about work, which I probably shouldn’t. It feels like the elephant in the room, though, so it’s hard to not think about it sometimes. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t even try going back to the same employer I was at. I worry about triggers and never truly being able to get away from my old job if I go back. Part of the problem is that I have no idea how the employment stuff works, and I’m afraid to ask anybody any questions. But leaving the house still bothers me, I can’t drive very far, and I can’t answer a phone, which are probably all things that a job would require. I wish there was some way I could work from home.

This evening, J and I watched another episode of Columbo. It’s a good show to watch before bed – it’s got clever writing, (mostly) good acting, and there aren’t gunfights or car chases. Nice and relaxing. If you’ve never watched an episode, I recommend giving it a try. One of the episodes from the early to mid 1970s are probably the best ones.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do tomorrow. Probably a load or two of laundry and I really need to clean up my office. I’ve been writing at the dining room table for far too long.

Stay safe.