My Depression

Trigger Warning: this post may contain content that can trigger a shift in mood, comfort, or mental status. Proceed at your own risk.

I used to be a pretty passionate and vocal person. I would get angry at work whenever I thought people weren’t being treated fairly, weren’t taking situations seriously, or who flat-out denied that we needed things like replacement parts, spares, and that sort of thing. I spent a lot of time angry, and used that energy to fuel my creativity and help me stay focused when I was working on difficult things.

Then, in 2012-2013, things changed. Any efforts I put in at work were undercut by new management that was laughably unorganized and who cared about nothing but saving money. This wore me down, and after a while, I found I could no longer get angry. The only two emotions left to me were antipathy and anxiety. I cared about what was going on but emotionally, I was drained.

My lack of emotion was affecting my relationships with my family, too. Everyone but me saw that something was wrong but whenever they mentioned it, I was not willing to listen. They could see me turning inward and becoming less and less willing to talk about things. J suggested I go and see someone but I thought I was fine and didn’t need any help.

Things got steadily worse over the next few years until I broke down one night and said to J that I wished I would suffer from a massive heart attack and die so I didn’t have to deal with all the crap at work anymore. That set off alarm bells for her and she doubled her efforts to get me to accept some help, whether it was talking to a professional or using a self-help book. Again, I refused.

It was getting harder to get out of bed in the mornings, and things like showering and brushing my teeth felt like they took a monumental effort. My home and work relationships suffered, and my output at work steadily decreased until I was producing barely a trickle of what I used to. At home, I would eat, play computer games, and go to bed.

J, bless her heart, stood right beside me through all of this.

The first time I had a panic attack was in bed. My chest tightened up and it was hard to breathe. I was frightened but didn’t want to move or wake J up just in case my dreams had come true and I was having a heart attack. When it eventually faded I was disappointed that I was still there. Panic attacks quickly became more frequent and when each one ended, I was always exhausted and disappointed that I was still alive.

Eventually, my depression met and decided to hang out with my OCD and anxiety and things went downhill very quickly. I couldn’t sleep, was having constant panic attacks, and was starting to alarm my friends at work. J was still supporting me and I soaked many a t-shirt of hers with my tears and snot.

Finally – when I could no longer pretend that I was dealing with something I could handle myself – I asked J for help finding someone I could talk to. She pointed me to a directory of professionals in the area and that’s where I found Dr C listed. Our first several appointments were difficult but I realized once I was there that I needed to be there.

Unfortunately, I’d waited too long. About two months later, the wheels fell completely off and I ended up in the hospital. Three months later, I was out, heavily medicated, and still hoping for that heart attack to finish me off.

My depression is still with me. Some days I just can’t get out of bed, or if I do, I return to it quickly. Other days I just can’t motivate myself to do anything, even if it’s something I enjoy. I’ll wander the house, looking at this or that, and saying, “nope, not interested” all day. The slightest bit of difficulty I have with a task totally derails my concentration and I can’t finish it. Sometimes I won’t shower for days. I have no appetite and must eat by the clock. I also have no off switch for eating so I will eat everything in front of me until it’s gone. I have to set timers to remind me to take my medication because I have no concept of time.

Am I better than I was a year ago? Absolutely, but I still have a long way to go. Every day I wake up and feel like I can take on the world again is a treat, and I’m working hard to make more days like that.

If you’re feeling depressed or feeling like you don’t matter, please seek professional help. Don’t make my mistake and wait until the dam is already leaking before getting help!

Driving

I grew up out in the country so driving to get anywhere was a way of life. I enjoyed it and was very comfortable doing it. In 2009 I bought a motorcycle – and I’ve done one motorcycle trip to British Columbia in 2011, and another to Alaska in 2013 (by way of British Columbia). Aside from getting cold and wet, I thoroughly enjoyed the trips, camping by myself or with a friend, and just soaking in the scenery, wildlife, and smells. I’ve done 900km days back-to-back on the bike and just loved rolling down the highway and watching the world around me as the scenery changed.

I started having trouble driving in late 2013 or early 2014. I would shoulder check to change lanes, see that it was clear, and then not believe myself so I’d shoulder check again. I didn’t know at the time I had OCD, and it was quite frustrating. I never got into an accident, but I did have to start planning my lane changes much farther ahead of time so I could find a large enough gap that I could obviously fit into.

Fast forward to April 2016. J and I were going to the clinic so I could talk to my GP at the time about what was going on and to hopefully get my medication adjusted. J works near the clinic so we decided to take both vehicles, drop mine off in the parking lot where she works, and then both take her car to the clinic. At that time, I really wasn’t feeling well. My anxiety, depression, panic, and OCD were running rampant and the medication I’d already been given wasn’t helping. J got into her car, I got into the truck, and I followed her towards her workplace.

About five minutes into the drive, a MASSIVE panic attack hit me. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, the only thing that was going through my head was “YOU’RE GOING TO KILL SOMEONE”. I don’t know how I did it but I managed to stay behind J in the pre-dawn rain and met her at the parking lot. I was trying all of the grounding techniques I knew but they weren’t helping. Deep breathing, pretending I was somewhere else… nothing worked.

About a month after that visit I was admitted to the psych ward. Three months later, I was out, but terrified of the idea of driving. I just couldn’t do it. Once again it was J to the rescue when she shuffled around her hours so she could drive me to my appointments (best wife in the world!) and anywhere else I needed to go.

I worked on the problem with both Dr C and Dr W, and my father had some good ideas too. I went out to the truck and just walked around it, patting the hood and just feeling it. I did that for a couple of days and then went out, popped the hood, and looked at the engine and all the fluids. That took about a week before I could do it comfortably, at which point I started opening the door and just sitting in the truck. Sometimes I’d turn on the radio, but for the most part I was quiet and listening to my thoughts. That took another week or so. Then, I would start the truck and just sit there idling. Shut it off, start it back up, and sit there idling some more.

Finally I was comfortable enough to try and move the vehicle. I released the emergency brake, put the truck in reverse, and… nothing happened. I put it back in park, gave it a couple of light revs, then put it in reverse again. Still, nothing. Feeling sick to my stomach and on the verge of panic, I tapped the gas pedal lightly. There was a loud BANG as some dirty or rusty part let go (I’m guessing the emergency brake) and I started rolling. I must’ve been quite the sight as I would go out to the truck every morning and drive it up and down the driveway, but I was taking things slowly.

Eventually I was comfortable enough with that to try driving around the block. That took me quite a while to get used to, but since then I’ve been expanding the distance from home that I’m comfortable driving. Lighter traffic is much easier for me to handle, but I’m slowly making it a little farther from home each week. I’m now able to drive myself to my appointments with Dr C, which both makes me a little proud of myself and makes me happy that J doesn’t have to switch around as much of her work time. I have two goals right now: be able to drive myself to my Dr W appointments (which is a much larger commitment), and go for a ride on my motorcycle (which has been sitting for a year and a half doing nothing).

When I got home from the hospital, I never thought I’d be able to drive again. Baby steps are the trick, and I thank Dr C, Dr W, and my dad for the helpful ideas that got me rolling again. I also want to thank J again for all of her patience and support while I’ve been sick and recovering.

Stay Safe!

A Good Start To The Week

I’ve been sleeping a lot better lately thanks to my CPAP machine and some medication. So much better that I’m spending a lot of time sleeping on my back, which I never used to be able to do. The upside to this is that it means I’m having a good sleep (nightmares aside), while the downside is that my back is quite sore in the morning. It’s a small price to pay, though – I’d rather be awake with a sore back instead of exhausted with a happy back.

Today I got up, had breakfast, did my exercises, and sat down to do more writing. Whether it’s a short story or blog post or technical document, I really enjoy writing – it feels good to put information in an order that’s easier to understand. I’m really enjoying writing in this blog in particular. I find it therapeutic to sit down at the end of the day and type out my adventures, thoughts, and ideas.

After I was done writing, I sat down with some paints and a piece of canvas and my tablet and tried to follow along with Bob Ross on one of the episodes of The Joy of Painting. I think it went pretty well for my first try:

Parts of my painting look okay (the trees in the distance and the shoreline) but the clouds and water really aren’t that good. I’m going to try again soon, though – even though I’m no Renoir, I really enjoyed doing it and I think this will become one of my regular hobbies.

I’m pretty excited this evening – J saw me having trouble with my computer and bought me a new one. It should arrive tomorrow and I can’t wait to see it! It was very nice of her to do that. I feel a little guilty as my current computer still does 80% of the stuff I want, but it’s old and has been pretty rock solid. It really doesn’t owe anybody anything and deserves a pleasant retirement.

I think the fact that I’m excited about something is a sign that I’m getting better. I used to have only two emotions – not caring about anything, or panicking about everything. It’s also a plus that I’m excited about a computer. When I first got home from the hospital, I didn’t even want to see a computer, never mind use one. The fact that I’m able to use my home machine to do things like gaming and writing I think is another good sign. You have to be able to use a computer for pretty much any job nowadays, so being able to sit down at one without my stomach lurching is a definite plus.

It was very pleasant outside today too – finally warm enough to open a window for a while and let the fresh air in. As J said this evening, it’s nice to be breathing air that’s not from October.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this earlier but I have a three gallon aquarium on my desk with some little shrimp in it. There are three “cleaner” shrimp (Larry, Moe, and Curly) and one ghost shrimp (Stanley). They zip around and eat like little machines. I don’t like shrimp (or any seafood for that matter), but as pets they’re pretty cool. Plus, you can see a lot of their internal machinery because their skin is pretty transparent. Anyway, today I was moving a plant from my aquarium to the bigger fish aquarium in the living room. I shooed two of the Stooges off the plant but didn’t see the third. I grabbed the plant and the third Stooge hopped onto my finger. I like them, but I like them much more when they’re not on me.

Other than that, my day was pretty standard. I’ll give it a seven point five I think. I hope you had a good day too!

Stay Safe!

Resources

One of the things that every mental health professional or volunteer has drilled into my head is to “never use Dr Google” to search for mental health issues. The problem is, while there’s a lot of good information out there, there is also a lot not-so-good information, and a lot of very bad information. There are some people out there who get their kicks by embarrassing, trolling, or even telling people with mental health issues that they don’t deserve to live. It blows my mind that there are people who do that.

I will keep a list of resources here that I have found useful and safe for me. They may not do the trick for you but hopefully they won’t have a negative effect on you, either. Some of the resources I know about because Dr C, Dr W, or another professional pointed me their way, others I know of because they gave presentations at group while I was in the hospital, and others I know about because J uses them or knows someone who does.

I will try to keep this page updated with additions and corrections so if you are looking forward to it in the future, just click “Resources” on the categories menu. If you have any suggestions for sites (or think some should be removed) please let me know via the contact form.

Here we go!

Anxiety BC: www.anxietybc.com – Anxiety BC is a great resource for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. They have quite a bit of self-help information, and I found their site very useful for my OCD.

Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM): www.adam.mb.ca – ADAM is an excellent resource if you’re looking for information on anxiety and relaxation. They have several videos and audio files that you can use to help you relax. I’m a big fan of their progressive muscle relaxation audio file and use it often.

Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention: http://suicideprevention.ca/need-help/ has a list of crisis centres by province.

Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up – this is a very popular document created by Eponis (http://eponis.tumblr.com/post/113798088670/everything-is-awful-and-im-not-okay-questions-to) that is very useful if you feel like you’re at your wits end. Eponis has also made the document available as a single-page PDF that I highly recommend sticking to the fridge or a mirror, somewhere you will walk by it frequently. It’s located here.

Informed Choices About Depression: http://depression.informedchoices.ca has a lot of information on treatment and a great guide on what to expect if you’re new to therapy or medication for mental illness.

International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) Crisis Centre list: http://iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/ has links to crisis centres around the world.

Kid’s Help Phone (Canada): 1-800-668-6868

The Mighty: https://themighty.com – The Mighty is a huge resource of personal experiences, news articles, and help for many different subjects including mental illness. There’s so much information there that I found it bewildering at first but it’s a very good resource if you want to read articles written about mental illness by people who have gone through what you’re going through.

Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba: http://www.mooddisordersmanitoba.ca/ has good information in their “resources” section, including downloadable information sheets and brochures.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (USA): 1-800-273-8255

Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/ is another large site that covers quite a few topics.

Remember – YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Stay safe!

A Pretty Good Weekend

This weekend went by very quickly. J and I had a good time and managed to get a lot of stuff done around the house in addition to watching a couple of movies. As I mentioned on Friday, I planted a bunch of seeds a week or so ago but the only plants that have sprouted so far are the tomatoes. Today I moved them and their peat pots into yogurt containers to give them a little more room:

Tomato Plants

I also planted some yellow beans and hot peppers as well as parsley, basil, and dill. J and I are discussing whether we want to have a raised garden in the yard or grow things in pots on the deck. Both have advantages and disadvantages but it’s still cool enough that we have a while still before we really need to decide. We don’t want an in-ground garden because we used treated lumber on the fence and deck and don’t want to take any chance that the plants would pick up some of the chemical.

I was going to make bread but found out that I didn’t have enough margarine. I probably should have gone to the store but I think I will do that tomorrow. I also didn’t get any welding done – there’s a bunch of cardboard and plastic in there from the treadmill and as much as I love welding, I really don’t want to burn the garage down around me.

It occurred to me this evening that it has now been a year since I’ve been off work. Of that time, I spent four months in the hospital. I still feel awful about leaving so suddenly – I just told one of my co-workers “My stomach is upset, I’m going home” before lunch on a Friday and I haven’t been back. I feel a lot of guilt for leaving but the thought of returning makes me physically ill, even now.

I also feel bad because there’s very little to show for the eight months I’ve spent at home. J, Dr C, and Dr W all remind me that it’s been my job to get better (and I get that), but I really wish I had something I could hold up and say, “Look! I’m getting better!” I guess that being able to drive the truck is an accomplishment even if I can’t go far, and I can go to stores by myself and usually handle it okay. Still, if I had a cast or surgical scars or something like that, it’d be a lot easier to show improvements.

I apologize if this post rambles or is uneven, I already took my night medications and should’ve done the post before I got all fuzzy.

Stay safe!

And Another Day Goes By

Overall, today went pretty well. I’m almost caught up on laundry and this evening J and I cleaned the fish tank and gave the kitchen a good once over. Being a big fan of the Mass Effect series, I bought and started downloading Mass Effect: Andromeda, which I was very excited to play. I say “was” because when I went to play it, my computer started the game, ran it very poorly for a couple of minutes, then coughed and died. I knew my computer didn’t meet the minimum requirements but I didn’t expect it to be that out of date. Ah, well. Someday I will get a new machine and will be able to play it. I’m still using the machine I bought to play the original Mass Effect back in 2011 so it’s had a pretty good run.

But enough about that. The rest of my day went quite well. In addition to the laundry, I put some stuff away, organized some other stuff, and gave a lot of thought to an electronics problem that a friend of mine has. I also went out of my comfort zone and spent a couple of hours setting up Internet radio on a Raspberry Pi (still have a ways to go before it’s practical but I’m encouraged with what I’ve got so far). FA sent me a text asking what I was up to so I hope maybe we can get together sometime next week. It’s always fun when we go on capers (as she calls them).

I am certain now that the medication reductions Dr W did last Wednesday are kicking in. I’m still quite sedated in the mornings, but I am much more alert in the evenings than I was before. I was worried that it would make it harder to fall asleep but that doesn’t seem to be the case – my evening medications take care of that quite nicely. I’m looking forward to further reductions. I’m not having many problems with side-effects, I just don’t want to be taking stuff I don’t need.

The weather here has been really quite nice for the last few days, up around +10C in the afternoons. I am really looking forward to a +13C or +15C day so I can open all the windows and enjoy the fresh spring air. I have been thinking of how nice it would be to ride my motorcycle again, but I’m worried that it’s just going to sit there unused for another year. I have enough difficulty driving a four-wheeled vehicle – riding unprotected on two wheels seems almost impossible.

I’ve got a lot of things planned for the weekend. I planted some seeds last week and some of the tomatoes have sprouted so I think I’m going to move them into bigger pots to give them room to grow. I also want to make some bread and maybe walk over to the grocery store to pick up some stuff. I’d also like to get outside and clean the garage and maybe do some welding. That would be a nice treat!

Stay safe!

Hobbies

When I’m depressed or anxious, sitting around and doing nothing is the absolute worst thing I can do. I need to get up and move around or focus my brain on something other than the dark clouds hanging above my head. Grounding, breathing exercises, and meditating help, but I find that nothing soaks up time and is as gratifying as working on a hobby. They leave me in a better mood and sometimes I learn something, which also makes me feel good.

Everyone should have at least a couple of hobbies. I’ve got dozens of them. In fact, I have to rotate which hobbies I’m actively doing or my attention is spread too thin and I don’t get anything done on any of them. Bass guitar, lock picking, electronics, astronomy, (micro)biology, welding, writing, motorcycle riding and maintenance, computer gaming, collecting (and listening to) records, colouring, painting, reading… I could go on for a while, but you probably get the point.

I find the only problem I have with hobbies is that on the days where I have to fight hard to get out of bed I can rarely motivate myself to sit down and do something. It’s tricky that way – sitting down at my electronics bench would make me feel better, but to summon the oomph to do it can be very difficult.

I’ve got to keep working on it, though. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to convince myself that something that I used to find fun before I became ill will still be fun now. I still have days where I can’t do anything (like earlier this week), but sometimes even just knowing that there are fun things to do when I get up helps.

I think I’ll do some posts on the different hobbies I have. Some of them may be topics that others had never considered before but may find interesting. Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy even when you’re not feeling well?

Stay safe!

Not Too Bad

I slept pretty well last night. Only woke up once from a nightmare but was able to get back to sleep pretty quickly and without disturbing J. When I woke up this morning, I was pleased to find my mood had lifted quite a bit and I was looking forward to the day. I exercised, listened to more records, and wrote the previous post.

I wonder why mood changes while I sleep. Some days I go to bed feeling down and wake up feeling great, while other days I can go to bed feeling great and wake up feeling down. What causes that? Dreams? The quality of sleep? Or is it just something that happens to everyone and nobody knows why? I’ve seen videos of brains in an fMRI machine – I wonder if anyone has tried to sleep all night in one. It would be interesting to see what parts of a brain are lit up when someone is happy or sad or cranky.

I’ve been working on writing a letter of appreciation to the Patient Care Manager at the hospital that fixed me up twice. It’s been difficult, though. For one, I’ve got so many people to thank that it’s going to be hard to keep it to a manageable length. It’s also difficult to write it in a way that’s professional and thankful instead of all wishy-washy. I just need to take it slow and not overthink it.

My appointment with Dr C today went well. Now that I’m not showing up with a different crisis every week, it’s really nice to be able to work on something for a couple of sessions in a row. Right now we’re working on thickening my skin and making me more resilient when bad things happen or I’m in a situation that has one (or more) of the triggers that really get to me. I’m going to try to deal with the anxiety and negative thoughts as if they were a person. So I’m planning on saying to the thoughts that they’re welcome to keep blathering on, but the rest of me isn’t going to be paying attention to them anymore. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

I’m also grappling with a bunch of other questions. The two that cause me the most consternation are “how can I be significant and insignificant at the same time?” and “What makes a good person?” The significance question bothers me because I have a direct effect on the people around me but at the same time if I weren’t here, the world would still turn and the sun would still shine. The good person question bothers me the most because I really want to be a good person and have the opportunity to do that while I’m putting myself back together. I just need to figure out what qualities good people have. It’s harder than it sounds – a quality that is positive in one person may not be in another. I’m a little worried these are the kinds of questions that you need to meditate on for years to answer, but I’m going to try.

J had an exam this morning and to celebrate her doing well we had pizza and watched Dr Strange. It was a pretty good movie. The effects were really done well and any movie that has Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton in it has to be good. Good company, good pizza, and a good movie makes for a good evening.

Stay safe!

Grounding – Updated September 16th, 2017

Having runaway anxiety and panic sucks. Most of the things I worry about have either already happened or haven’t happened yet (and there’s no proof they will). I shouldn’t be worried about them or catastrophize – and yet, due to the anxiety, I can’t help it.

The good news is that there’s a way to short-circuit the anxiety before it becomes full-blown panic. It can also help shorten or even stop a panic attack in progress, and even lift your spirits if you’re feeling down. The tool is called grounding, and it helps to bring you back to the here and now instead of events from the past or possibilities from the future.

There are many grounding techniques. Some work for some people but not others. Some also work with different levels or types of anxiety or panic. Sometimes they’ll work and sometimes they won’t, which is why it’s good to know a couple of them. They all take practice but for me, it’s been really worth it.

Here are a few of my favourite grounding techniques:

1) The 5-4-3-2-1 method
Dr C taught me this one in one of our early sessions. It has helped me immensely and is usually my first go-to grounding technique when I’m in trouble. Here’s how it works:

– Look around you and find five things that you can see. The more detail, the better. “I see a wall” isn’t as effective as “I see the little indents on the inner circle of a paperclip that’s sitting on the desk”, or “I see that the store down the street has used an ‘F’ in place of an ‘E’ in their sign”.

– Sit (or lie) still, and find four things that you can feel. Again, more detail is better. “Butt on chair” isn’t as good as “right sock has fallen a bit and is lower than the left sock” or “I can feel the gentle breeze of the ventilation system moving the hairs on my right forearm”.

– Now focus on your hearing and identify three sounds you can hear. “Cars” isn’t as good as “the Doppler effect of the cars going by” or “the whirr of the computer fan.”

– The next thing is finding two things you can smell. If you can’t smell two different things, then think of two smells you really like. Again, describe them as well as you can.

– The last step is to think of one good thing about yourself. Be honest. If you’re feeling down, this can be difficult, but remember that everyone has at least one good thing about them.

If you think about it, each of the steps is harder and requires more concentration, which helps push what you were worried about over to the side. With luck, doing this once or twice will help break the cycle of anxiety/panic at least for a little while.

2) Water Over Hands
This one I discovered myself when washing my hands one day. Turn on the tap and put your hands into the stream. Now just feel and watch. Feel the water running over your hands. Feel the tiny variations in temperature. Watch the bubbles as they form and run over your hands and down the drain. Look at the paths the water takes as it flows over your hands and how easily you can move it around with subtle movements of your hands.

I like this one because I can use it in public restrooms without looking too weird.

3) Ice in hot water
Get a cup of hot water from the tap and drop an ice cube into it. Listen to the ice crack and watch as parts of it thin out and become translucent, then transparent. Does the ice move to a particular side? Does it move around at all while it’s melting?

4) Listening to music
This one worked quite well for me yesterday when I was in a slump. Get some uptempo music that you really like or find interesting, put it on speakers, and crank it up (but not so high you hurt your ears). Let the music wash over you. Try to pick out and listen to each instrument or voice one at a time. No ballads, no slow music. Something fast that you can tap your toes to.

5) Sit in front of a fan
Sit in front of a fan that’s turned to a low setting. Feel the air buffet you, feel the hair on your head and arms move. Notice the cooling effect the moving air has on your skin.

This is just a tiny sample of the many grounding techniques out there. I highly recommend having at least a couple of them in your toolbox to help you cope.

Do you have any particular techniques that work for you?

Stay safe!

Nice Weather, Poor Mood

I woke up today feeling much the same as yesterday. It was difficult to get excited or even interested in anything. After J went to work, I went back to bed and slept for another two hours or so. I got up again, had a fruit smoothie for breakfast, and wandered around the house, trying to figure out what to do. I put up the Anxiety post (it was already written), and tried to do something. Computer game? No interest. Make bread? Couldn’t be bothered. Play bass guitar? Nope. I went back to bed and spent the next three hours dozing and staring at the ceiling, wishing I was doing something – anything – instead of being a useless lump.

Finally, I managed to summon the willpower to pull myself out of bed and go for a walk on the treadmill downstairs. All I could think about was going back to bed even though it was the afternoon. I did half an hour and then caught myself before I could go back upstairs to bed. Listening to records often cheers me up and the bag with the records I’d bought on Monday was sitting on the floor right in front of me. I picked one of the 10” oldies, put it on the turntable, and gave it a bit of a cleaning. When I started it up, the blues poured out of the speakers in much better quality than I could have ever hoped for from vinyl pressed in 1952.

I sat down in the reclining chair in front of the speakers, turned up the volume, and let the music flow over me and sink in. After that record was done, I put on Boots by Nancy Sinatra. I could feel my mood lifting. Not a lot, mind you – but enough that I wasn’t thinking of going back to bed anymore. James Last’s Beach Party was next on the turntable and despite how cheese-tastic the music was, I found myself tapping my foot to it.

With my mood having gone from a four to a six, I got cleaned up and went back to the records, listening to them while waiting for J to come home so she could take me to my appointment with Dr W (my psychiatrist). She arrived a short time later and we talked for a little while before heading out to the hospital. It was gorgeous out – at least +10C and the air smelled and felt fresh. Between the weather and conversation with J, it was a very pleasant drive.

While I was in Dr W’s waiting room, I saw a couple of the staff that had taken care of me while I was in the psych ward. I felt a curious mixture of being happy to see them and not wanting to see them as we waved at each other. Then a fellow who I became friends with while in the hospital walked over and we had a good chat about how we were doing. It was very good to see him – I’d been curious as to how he was and it was great to see him smiling and hear that things were going well. I hope things continue to go well for him.

My appointment with Dr W went well and turned today into an important day for me. I’d been tired lately – not just feeling down, but actually tired. I’d been sleeping well, so I wasn’t sure what was going on. After discussing it with Dr W, he suggested we start lowering the dosage of some of my medications. Now that I think about it, it’s a significant event – if I don’t need as much medication, I must be getting better! He decreased two of them (Lorazepam and Quetiapine) and explained the need to take it slowly by saying it was like we’re in a car on an icy road. We have to be careful or we’ll end up in the ditch. I think I’ve already started to notice a difference – I don’t feel as tired as I usually am in the evening and with all the good stuff that happened this afternoon, I’m in a considerably better mood than I was this morning. Probably about a seven or so.

It also feels good to write this stuff down. It’s therapeutic in its own way.

Call it seven and a half.

Stay safe!