One small accomplishment

For the past week I’ve had anxiety about leaving the house alone.

I’ve been scared of going out and having another depressive episode and breaking down in public.

I’ve managed to walk the dog just fine and without worry, but anything bigger than that I’ve avoided.

I’ve needed to run an errand all week, but I’ve put it off and put it off, my chest tightening and pulse rising at the thought of it.

Today I made a small accomplishment and convinced myself to leave the house while my husband was at work. I made a trip to the post office and the grocery store. And despite some chest tightness, and tears threatening to well up in my eyes, nothing happened. I didn’t have a break down.

Today, I made it. Hopefully that’s a step forward in making it out successfully again.

 

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Depressive-flair

It’s been too long since I posted.

For a long time I was feeling pretty well. No major symptoms from any physical condition; I even stopped using my cane.

Just my depression, fluctuating in and out, kept me down.

I stepped down from my PhD to an EdS and graduated. I didn’t even have a breakdown over it. I met with my therapist every two weeks and it kept me even. Even to the point that I considered not needing to see her so often.

Then I moved. And I haven’t seen a therapist in two and a half months.

And I miss it.

My depression has been overpowering lately.

I end up crying every time I leave the house alone. I’ve had breakdowns in Target and Michael’s, and driving down the road.

The first time I was filling my Prozac prescription, waiting on the CVS in Target. I walked around the new store in my new town, with it’s different selection from my familiar University-town store, and everything went sideways. Intrusive, negative thoughts about not deserving new clothes because I don’t have a job yet started it. At least that’s the best I can pin-point it. Then they didn’t have pants I wanted to get for my husband in his size. Then… I don’t know. But it was overwhelming. Sadness, emptiness, self-depreciation. Tears welled up in my eyes and I struggled to hold myself together.

For four days after that I didn’t go out except to walk the dog. I didn’t shower or basically take care of myself at all; I ate because my husband made me dinner. I woke up when I physically couldn’t sleep anymore…and very often napped again shortly after. Things only turned around when my husband was home.

It’s been mild ups, and downs, since then. Sometimes I feel normal again. Mostly I feel empty and uninterested. Tired; Fatigued. Occasionally the nasty intrusive thoughts of not deserving, not being valuable, not competent, and never improving rear their ugly little heads; despite recognizing I don’t deserve these thoughts and distracting myself from them, I haven’t been able to silence them completely.

Then today I managed to convince myself to go out and run some errands. I forgot the post office was closed for President’s Day. And the the glue that held my cracks together began to become undone. Everything I needed from Michael’s, I got, and yet I still left holding back tears.

 

Depression is like that I guess. It eats at your edges. It sneaks in and crushes everything around it with wave after wave of apathy and negativity. It isolates you.

And to fight that I’m trying to blog again. To reach out and break the silence that depression tries so hard to impose.

 

 

 

And I breathe

I want to resist. To fight.

The world around me seems to be erupting in flames. Burning. Burning with hatred and fear. Burning with passion and resilience. Burning.

Every day I watch the fire touch every aspect of my life, of humanity. And deep within me I feel the fire catch. A passion for humanity; a visceral need for humanity. And I don’t know how to channel it.

By appearances I am not the one being targeted. But I am. If only because at the very least, if one of us is is targeted, we all are.

And I feel so helpless. So small. So insignificant. In facing the wall of flames, what am I?

FIRE DEMON It breaks my heart that it has taken such a raging, burning fire before we started one of our own to control the burn. That I don’t know how to fight back. That I am not stronger, smarter, more powerful in this world. But I take the words of advice I was given: “write” and I run with them. Because what else am I to do? I might not know what to say, but I must say it. And I must remind myself: from fire comes growth. And with growth there is hope. Hope for a better tomorrow. Hope for unity. Hope for humanity. Loop

And I breathe.

One breath at a time as I move forward.

Originally posted on my academic blog, Life is Learning.

ePatient Health Literacies

Its been a long time since I’ve written here, and I have no excuse other than depression. Depression makes you miss a lot of things, disengaging with the world with a brain full of fog.

I’m breaking my extended silence because of an exciting opportunity. An opportunity that deserves more attention and support than I have been giving it; something which I hope writing this is a small step in the positive direction of rectifying.

There is a group of volunteers that host conversations related to ePatients–engaged, empowered (and a few more “e”s I can’t recall right now) patients. I’ve mentioned them briefly before. These conversations are driven by the chronically and critically ill, about topics that are important to them.

Our next conversation is about health literacy: the knowledge base, practices, and understandings about health. But this is not a conversation being dictated to us by healthcare professionals or healthy people; no, this is a conversation about the knowledge and practices we as patients need, from our experiences and points of view.

And this is a conversation you can join.

I’m so glad I see my therapist tomorrow. I’ve never considered myself anxious, but right now the anxiety is almost paralyzing. I’m too stunned to even cry. Too scared to plan anything for the future; but I do know I want to make it better, brighter, not what is staring down the barrel at us right now.

 

To everyone reading, remember, you matter.

We are in this together.

I will fight for you.

…just as soon as I can.

Wise Words

Here are some incredibly wise words from Scottx5. He shared these in a comment, but they deserve to be more prominent. And repeated frequently.

Illness has a lot to do with sense making. That first you are a person and that matters. And you are a person with the ability to reason and solve things and even if the answer doesn’t “fix” you back to where you want to be, you are an active participant.

These words pull together my whole life.
Thank you for sharing them Scott!

Today

My world isn’t spinning, but it definitely isn’t still either. It’s a weird state of dizziness that I don’t know how to describe.

I’m not lightheaded. Actually, my head feels like it weighs a ton. But it does feel like a balloon, far disconnected from the rest of my body.

I’m uncoordinated. My body awareness is minimal. I’ve run into everything today, and toppled over standing still.

My mind is stretched to it’s limits just existing. Like someone left a manuscript out in the pouring rain. Everything that once was there, sharp and delineated, is run-together – smeared and weeping into each other. Nothing is distinguishable anymore, but the evidence of something that once was still remains.

I haven’t even been writing my symptoms down to take to doctors lately. I’ve stopped tracking my meals. Everything is so much effort. And nothing seems to be making a difference.

Today is going to be a long day.

Today I’m simply existing.

Today…