Update: Out of Zombieland

I was very depressed for a couple months.  It started easing up and I actually feel great for the first time in a long time.  Even before I was severely depressed (when it was actually seriously impacting my functioning) I had underlying apathy and negative thoughts.  For a long time I wasn’t feeling my feelings as intensely as I normally do.  And I feel things very intensely, especially happiness. I’ve always felt blessed in that way.  I don’t do drugs but I experimented as a teen and I can honestly say my happiness is actually a more intense/euphoric even physical feeling than any times I had gotten high.  I’ve finally broken out of that numbness and gotten back to that.  I’m very excited about life, I’m not just walking around like a dead person/zombie now as I was for most of 2018 and the beginning of 2019.

The only issue is I’ve been hearing things more.  I don’t know what’s more upsetting, hearing things or feeling like a freak for having those experiences.  It’s happened on and off for a large majority of my life so I should be used to it by now I guess, but still for some reason I always feel like I’ve “failed” in some way when they’re back.

Anyway, I just wanted to write an update since I haven’t written much recently.  Hope my followers are doing well! 🙂

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Allowing Others to Help

So… things have been rocky but are looking up.  I think part of my problem is that I really dislike needing and asking for help.  I called and scheduled an earlier appointment with my therapist, we had one scheduled for a few weeks from now, but I realized I need some support during this time.  I’ve never done that before in over 3 years of seeing her.  She was completely fine with it of course.  I started having re occurrence of symptoms several months ago, but let it go because I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal or important enough to mention.  I thought I could deal with it myself, and I did try.  I tried very hard, to “fix” the symptoms without informing my doctor or therapist about them, until finally realizing that I need to ask for help, I can’t do everything completely on my own.  I can use my coping skills of course, to make things more manageable, but when voices and whatnot are so bad that I’m wanting to escape from life, there’s only so much I can do. Somehow I’ve maintained getting As in the classes I’m taking, and completing huge papers on time.  Not exactly sure how, the past couple weeks were kind of a blur.  I’m really hard on myself especially with college.  I love learning and want the degree I’m working towards more than anything, so when this started affecting my education again I got worried. It’s definitely a good thing the semester ends in two weeks.  I will be off till the end of January.

Another issue related to this is that I felt like a complete failure for hearing voices again.  I had a year with virtually no symptoms, not even mood problems. It was amazing, the most peaceful time in my life.  When I started dealing with this stuff again I felt like I screwed up or did something wrong somehow.  I just viewed myself as a failure, like there’s some sort of flaw with me as a person.  I’m starting to realize that those beliefs are not true.  I’m not a bad person or failure for having symptoms come back.  A year with none was great but considering I spent a large part of my life with them it’s unlikely that they would go away 100% forever.  I mean, it’s possible, who knows, maybe someday.  I’m going to keep moving forward and managing things the best I can, while allowing others to help me as well when necessary.

 

 

Down

I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve really been struggling with some things. Specifically a bad depressive episode, the eating disorder, and the recurrence of voices.

I felt really low for a month, I didn’t even realize it till like 3 weeks in though.  I wasn’t taking care of responsibilities, laying around, sad for no reason, exhausted all the time and sleeping too much, and some other things.  I just would kind of lay there and stare into space for an hour or so. My mind just seemed blank, I wasn’t having negative thoughts or anything, I just felt kind of flat if that makes sense.  I hadn’t been depressed in over a year and a half. I can’t remember a single major holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas that I haven’t gotten extremely excited over till now.  I go crazy the whole holiday season usually with excitement and happiness, plans, etc. This time I didn’t feel anything at all, all the sudden it was Thanksgiving and I couldn’t feel that excitement at all.  There’s nothing I was sad or upset about, holidays are a great time for me so I was really surprised and frustrated.  I tried to force myself into the holiday spirit but it wasn’t working.  I miss that excitement, it’s almost magical.  My mood does seem to be improving though, thankfully.  I’ve been making myself get out of the house, and do some things I enjoy. This has been an unusual couple months, I was doing fantastic for over a year with everything and little to no symptoms.

The fall semester is almost over.  It ends in mid-December, then I get a month off till the spring semester.  I’m enjoying the cold weather, I love winter!

Going to see the new Fantastic Beasts movie (Crimes of Grindewald) with a friend next week.  Can’t wait!

 

Update

Hey everyone, thought I’d post an update.

I was struggling with depression and voices for a couple weeks.  I’m doing much better right now, though I’m having some reoccurring issues with my eating disorder, I’m so frustrated with it.  If anyone’s reading this do you have any tips for overcoming bulimia, coping with urges to binge?  I’ve gotten control over the purging aspect for the most part right now.

I’ve had a hard time with making myself go to bed due to anxiety over sleeping but I’ve been forcing myself to because I know it’s important.  Trying to deal with anxiety by using different coping techniques such as listening to music, mindfulness, watching funny videos, praying, taking walks, doing word puzzles, etc.  It’s helping very much.

College is going well, picked out classes for the spring semester.  Was getting behind because I wasn’t very motivated when I was depressed but I’m caught up now.

Loving the colder weather, can’t wait for snow!

 

My 10 Favorite Coping Skills

  1. Journaling: great way to get emotions out!
  2. Art:  drawing, coloring, arts and crafts can be very relaxing.  Many people enjoy adult coloring for stress relief.
  3. Watching a Comedy:  there’s nothing better than to laugh when you’re feeling anxious or down.  Look up funny videos online or watch your favorite comedy! (I enjoy watching clips from Ellen (DeGeneres) on YouTube, they always make me smile.
  4. Talk to a friend or family member:  It’s good to have someone you can talk with who will listen without judging.
  5. Getting Out of The House:  This is a big one.  The worse you feel the more you isolate and it becomes an endless cycle because you start feeling even more depressed or anxious as a result not getting out.  Staying inside all day by yourself feeds into obsessive/repetitive negative thoughts. So get out, go somewhere.  Anywhere.  Sit outside in the fresh air, take a walk, visit a museum, sit in a park, go to the zoo.  All these things can make you feel more connected with the outside world.  I know for myself the longer I stay indoors and don’t leave (sometimes it border on agoraphobia) the more distorted my thoughts become.
  6. Play With a Pet: Pets are amazing, they can decrease anxiety and even reduce blood pressure.  If you don’t have a pet maybe volunteer at a local shelter and help care for the animals, or play with a friend’s pet.  I know the most relaxing thing for me is when my two cats take nap with me or lay on me and purr.
  7. Socialize: Join some sort of group.  It doesn’t have to be a long term commitment.  There are many free activities at public libraries such as yoga, arts and crafts, book discussions.  Or hang out with a good friend.  When I hang out with a really good friend of mine it pretty much completely takes my mind off my problems because we have so much fun together.
  8. Exercise: one of the most effective ways to deal with anxiety is to get out all that extra energy.  Physical activity can greatly improve sleep quality.  It’s good for the body and the mind.
  9. Play a game/do a puzzle: perfect for taking your mind off problems and focusing it on the present moment.  It can provide a brief escape.
  10. Read or engage in some other hobby: I have many hobbies and I find that I almost never get bored now.  I always have something to keep my mind occupied when I have down time.  Learning new languages, music/instruments, find something you enjoy and stick to it!

This is a very basic list of some of the coping skills that have helped me, there are many others you can try.  I’ve seen lists with hundreds of coping ideas, so look around, your bound to come across something that may be beneficial to you, good luck! 🙂

  1. Sunflowers

(Picture taken by me Summer 2018 at a local rose garden)

I’ve Come to the Conclusion…

That it’s important to take my meds. It’s also important that I keep up with my day treatment program and appointments.

I have been trying to deny this for a long time but the fact is I have a mental illness. It doesn’t matter what it is called. It impacts my life in various negative ways.

I have a long way to go to reach a good stable period but that’s what I’m aiming for.

Time for positive thoughts, time to make a drastic change in my lifestyle.

 

These changes start tomorrow.

  • No giving into or dwelling on urges to cut, or drink cough syrup.
  • Better hygiene
  • Positive thinking
  • Taking my meds
  • Being honest with my treatment team
  • Use coping skills to get through difficult feelings (color, journal, pray, play with cats etc)

    In a months time I will be living in my own apartment for the very first time, time to get my **** together

Recent Hospital Stay {trigger warning}

I was recently in the hospital following a suicide attempt.

Long story short, I was inpatient for about a week and my meds were increased now I’m home.

If you don’t know, I have Schizoaffective Disorder.  The paranoia and depression was really wearing me down.  Sometimes you don’t even realize anything’s wrong until you get to that point.

I started working through a CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) book I got awhile back and it seems to be helping me  a lot.  My anxiety levels are much better now and my mood feels a lot more stable.

Also starting therapy at a local clinic, I just moved here and it took awhile to get set up somewhere.

If you’re feeling suicidal please talk to someone or ask for help, life is to precious to be doing the stupid things I’ve done like overdosing for example.  There is help out there, you may have to push to get it and it may take a lot of work on your part as well but you can do it.

Inpatient Tips

I have been having trouble coming up with posts to make which is why I haven’t written anything new in quite some time.  I guess I’m just not that creative, so if anyone has any ideas feel free to post them in the comments.

This topic came to mind today and I felt it is important to go over.

I have been in psych hospitals several times starting when I was a teenager.  Both voluntarily and involuntarily.  If you have the choice, choose to go voluntarily.  You get treated pretty much the same regardless at the hospital but the police will likely treat you like a criminal if they have to bring you there.

Here are my tips:

  • Bring clothes (stuff that doesn’t have strings attached) bring something warm because most hospitals are cold.
  • Don’t bring any sharp stuff
  • Participate in group.  You generally have several groups a day, at least that’s how the hospitals around here are.  Make sure you are active in them.  If you’re there involuntarily they will be looking to see your progress in the groups.
  • Advocate for yourself.  If you feel like something is wrong don’t hesitate to talk to the director of the program about your concerns.  I once had an incompetent psychiatrist who tried to get me sent to a residential facility even though I was doing 100 times better and it was only my first time being hospitalized and all the staff members agreed that I was doing much better.  Thankfully he discharged me once I was there for the max time.
  • Bring something to read.  There are several hours in the day where you aren’t doing anything, a book can help you escape mentally and make the time go by faster.
  • If your doctor says they’ll put a hold on you if you decide to sign yourself out (if you’re there voluntarily) listen to them and just wait until they decide to discharge you.  The last thing you want is to be there on an involuntary status, it will just keep you there longer.
  • Take the meds they give you, complying with the treatment is a big part of recovering.  If you have issues with any of your medications be sure to voice your concerns to the doctor.
  • Do NOT start dating another patient you meet there.  It is not the place nor time and you each have your own problems you’re trying to resolve.

I’m just putting down things that come to mind right away when I think about my inpatient stays.

It can be a wonderful experience.  Take advantage of the therapy and groups.  Get the help you need and most importantly be honest with your doctor.  If you’re not feeling better, don’t tell them you are, tell them the truth so they can help you.

Coping Skills

Coping skills are what the name implies, things that can help you cope with tough situations in life.

Different things work for different people.

What do you enjoy doing?

Think about that for awhile and try to come up with a list of things you can do easily when times are rough and you need a distraction.

Here are some of my top coping skills that have helped me many times.

Journaling

This is definitely at the top of the list for me.  It’s a great feeling to be able to just write and get all your feelings out, especially when you have nobody to talk to.  It’s also interesting to look back at patterns in the future and see how you dealt with things before.  I personally use a physical journal, I just happen to like that better.  You can do it however you want, blog, draw, write in a journal.

Coloring

Another big one, this is insanely helpful.  You may think it sounds silly for adults to color but it’s not at all.  It’s extremely relaxing, it gets your mind off what’s going on around you and on deciding which color to use next.  A very good distraction tool.  There are thousands of coloring books you can find online and order, even ones specifically for adults meaning that they’re much more intricate and time consuming than a child’s coloring book, but then again simple is fun to.  Whatever makes you happy!

Music

This is a tricky one, because naturally you will tend to be drawn to more depressing/angry songs when your depressed or anxious.  That’s okay too but it’s not good to dwell on bad feelings.  Try making a playlist with a mix of different types of songs so it doesn’t get to depressing.

Those are my top 3 coping skills, here is a simplified list of things that help me relax or take my mind off things.  Feel free to reply with what helps you or tweet me @ChaoticMindBlog

  • Relaxing shower or bath
  • Going for a swim
  • Taking a walk
  • Reading a good book
  • Watching a funny or positive movie/videos
  • Meditating
  • Arts and crafts
  • Playing with your pet(s)
  • Taking an afternoon nap (refreshing)
  • Practicing muscle relaxation techniques
  • Listening to relaxing sounds/music
  • Organizing/cleaning (helps some people feel better)
  • Having a cup of tea or cocoa

Meds and Weight

So, I haven’t updated in awhile.  A lot has been going on.  Some wonderful stuff and some horrible stuff.  I won’t get into to details as I want to keep that stuff for my private journal but I wanted to make a post about weight gain and meds.  I’m being tapered off a medication, Depakote specifically, due to the weight gain I’ve had while on it.  If things go well, I won’t have to take a mood stabilizer and will just continue with my other meds. Anyway, I have a hard time eating healthy.  I always have but it’s gotten much more out of control, and I think part of it is from the Depakote.  I’m ravenous.  I realized how bad it was getting when I started eating so much I had to start purging once in awhile because I felt physically sick from the amount of food I ate.  I started fresh yesterday attempting to eat healthier, I know this is gonna be difficult but I think once I’m off this med it should be a little easier.  What are your experiences with meds and weight gain?