It has almost been over a week on my new antidepressant and it’s getting easier to open the pill box and take it. Not perfect, but I’m trying. I skipped a couple days which I know is bad but I waffled on taking the whole thing to begin with so I needed to take baby steps. However, this week I was more diligent about keeping a daily routine of taking them and did my best to fight the feel I get when I have to open the box. The stupidest thing I did was look up all the side effects. I prefer not to know.
The beast is back. I had a good run though, and I’m not sure how it happened. Well, that’s a lie. My environment hasn’t been the healthiest one. I keep running into my ex, which is terrible cause things did not end on the most amicable terms. I am really burned out at my job and have had other external factors to play into the beast. The beast: Depression.
I’ve spent the last couple weekends finding it hard to leave my bed. Not my place, my bed, which is way worse. I finally broke down and made the call to see my psychiatrist before our scheduled appointment.
We rely on Doctors to scribble our life into a notebook then come up for air and say: You are Bipolar, you have Major Depressive Disorder, you are Hypo Manic, you have this, you are that.
Some of us are misdiagnosed or, we are undiagnosable. The education of mental health is not concrete. There are new illnesses being studied and formed on a constant basis. This can cause years of strain, stress, frustration, and anger. Anger, especially when you finally get a correct diagnosis, and then you have to find meds to temper that diagnosis, which is a whole other story, and an entire new battle.
I am supposed to take my mood stabilizer (Lamictal) twice a day. One pill in the morning and one and a half at night, but, sometimes I find myself cheating on my meds. I don’t use a pill cutter and when I go to take my half pill at night, I’ll bite a fourth off. I wonder if doing that is really going to make a difference in my mood. Well, not right away, but eventually, it does. You wouldn’t think biting off just a little less would cause an effect but it will. I don’t know if it is psychological or chemical, probably both, but I still do it once and awhile and know I am not the only one.
In the modern age it seems everyone is dating online. Some of us fight it like the plague, while others of us are so accustomed to meeting people online that, as a result, we are losing sight of the old days when we would meet people out in the world head on. Face to face.
There are some places that we can find real time human engagement and be surrounded by actual human beings. Coffee shops, book stores (wait, we are running out of book stores, Borders is over), parks, museums…there are a plethora of places to meet people, and diversify your ability to have new experiences, and connect with others.
For example, grocery stores can be a great way to meet someone, especially stores that have turned their establishment into a full blown playground. One example is Whole Foods.
The internet will always be a place to meet and connect with people but, don’t limit yourself to living through your computer. There are places out there waiting for you to enjoy.
POEM: WHOLE FOODS
It’s an office for writers
A Mecca of computers
With people looking for space
And search for an outlet
For their dying computer.
You have a conversation
With your sister
And catch up on the latest gossip
How fat is Kim Kardashian today?
Sometimes life gets hard when you don’t get a break from your mental illness. It can hang over your head. Especially when your friends and family know you have a mental illness and use that as a reason to understand or explain your behavior. Often, when you are having a hard time, they’ll point to your illness as the source:
“She’s in one of her moods,” or “He’s not coming to the party cause he’s being anti social. Depression or something.”
Oh, like you’ve never been frustrated or sad or excited?! People can have your mental illness be a go-to answer to explain your behavior when really, you are a human being just like everyone else. It can be unfair for your mental illness to be a label that gets thrown out there to describe, explain, or justify your actions.
Summer’s just around the corner and will be here before you know it. Start preparing for your spectacular summer body now. Here are a some simple things you can do to get yourself ready for summer:
1. Jump Rope – I once saw Naomi Campbell on the Oprah Winfrey Show and she said jump roping is a great way to keep your face slim. Makes sense. You’re jumping up and down and your cheeks get a great work out. And guess what, I’ve tried it, it works. Go to your local sports shop and get yourself a jump rope. It’s a quick easy way to get a workout on your face.
2. Sit on a Ball at Work – Sounds crazy but, again, I’ve tried it. I once worked with a woman that told me her father worked for NASA and sits on an exercise ball at work all day long. He ditched the chair, and by doing so, he was able to lose weight in his stomach. The idea is you are forced to sit up and not sit back on a chair so your mid-section gets a work out all day and you can burn fat while you work. It’s also good for your back and helps you work on your posture. Who cares if you look ridiculous at work. Once you start seeing results, you’ll find others jumping on the bandwagon.
3. Dumbbells at commercial breaks – Get yourself a set of dumbbells. It’s a great way to get a work out on your arms and, let’s face it, arms are hard to slim down. So, when you sit down to enjoy an episode of your favorite show, make it a habit to pick up your dumbbell during commercial breaks. You have two minutes to squeeze in a work out and it’s better than taking a trip to the fridge. A few sets of weights per arm on your commercial breaks helps.
We all suffer weight gain, and weigh loss. Particularly when we have to face side effects that alter our comfortable body weight. Sometimes the meds we take for depression can cause weight gain which can back fire on you and cause you more depression. Often times the weight seems to appear overnight. The side effects seem to hit instantaneously and you wake up to a new body. And it can happen with or without side effects from meds.
I’ve suffered weight gain from lithium and it was rough. I told my shrink I’d rather be skinny and crazy then fat and sane, and I meant it. I think back to that time and laugh at the signs that drove me over the edge. We all have areas in our body that we know will gain weight. Stomach, thighs, hips, ass. Depending on where you tend to carry your weight, we can be used to knowing what certain areas are at risk. But, sometimes other unknown areas are affected and it can be troubling, or scary. You are swimming in unchartered waters which can be hard. Hard fat is hard knocks.
Here are some signs to consider when enough is enough: Hands, Feet, Neck and Face.
When I used to work in psych wards in Los Angeles County, it used to irk me that the treatment team would throw out diagnosis left and right with NOS for either they didn’t have to time to properly diagnose patients cause the hospital was a rotating door, OR, they don’t know enough about mental illness to properly diagnose someone so stick on the NOS to be safe. It annoyed me on multiple levels cause once a person has an Axis I diagnosis it’s documented in a system. Patients would come and go and float from hospital to hospital and when I would pull up their name in the system the patient would have several different diagnosis NOS…NOS…NOS.
This is a poem from a bipolar child looking back on the work of a remarkable mother (1984).
Without a deep internal burst of
That makes a poem.
A brief moment
Across the page of humanity.
There is memory.
An incident in the past
Pastness of time.
And I walk into a coffee shop
With my mother
And she points to the silver jar
With chocolate fingers of dessert secrets
And I point before
A breath of time
Can register a point
To the chocolate cookie tunneled finger.
And it gets passed down
To my dirty fingers
Scarfing and ready
At the grasp of
And I walk home
In the streets of Westwood
With my mother and her stroller.
And a cookie
In my face.
Happy child photo available from Shutterstock