Tag: mental-health

Then…til Now

Then…til Now

“Then…til Now”, replaced “Depression – Where Am I From? …. Where Am I Going?” as the current tagline for the blog. In addition you may have noticed a change in theme from ‘Parament’ to ‘Misty Lake’.

I’m not clear at this point whether there’s any benefit to these blog changes or not but I felt that some change was in order, almost like a new beginning (to the blog). From a timing perspective it ties into me being ‘med free’, so from this point I won’t be on any medication for depression.

That in itself is a bit of a milestone for me and time will tell if it was the correct decision or not, however I do feel better and I want to move on, on to a more normal life (whatever normal is). My early retirement last year has freed me from the stress and the anxiousness of a job I neither enjoyed nor felt particularly attuned to. The industry, and my company, is going through a time of change and those changes were something I had little interest in accommodating, certainly not after already putting in 38 years and beating my head against the wall for the last 5.

As I’ve indicated in previous posts I believe my depression was more a reactive depression, or situational depression, than the psychological depression I first thought it was. Those circumstances are now behind me (at least for now) so I want to look ahead, not back. ‘Nuf said.

So my forthcoming posts here will hopefully be of a more positive note, and much like the photo below I will be displaying buds of new growth. I’d like you to stick around to see.

willow buds, new growth
Willow buds
Recalibation Required

Recalibation Required

I’m in a quandary, but then you that know me will say “so what else is new?” I believe a re-calibration is required, ‘How’ is the question, the  ‘why’ not so much.

I won’t belabor the point so I’ll cut to the chase.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this blog lately, in fact I talked about it a little in a previous post called Moving Forward, and a number of others. I guess the bottom line, where the rubber hits the road, is that I no longer believe I am suffering from depression. Whether I’m kidding myself who’s to say. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Perhaps I am deluding myself, maybe this is somewhat symptomatic of the illness where one feels healed  and so takes on their previous life without medication only to find they are not as ‘well’ as they thought. I suspect a relapse may be a result, quick or otherwise.

Or, maybe, people such as myself think they are fine but their partner or those close to them indicate that the diagnosis is still valid, they are still exhibiting outward signs of the mental illness. I asked, this doesn’t seem to be the case with me.

In fact I asked me wife that very question this morning.

“Have you seen any changes in me lately, some indications that my moods or personality has changed?’

She pondered the question for a moment and then replied,

“No, I don’t thinks so. If I’ve seen any changes is you it’s been only since you’ve retired.”

Well, that supports my perception of the situation as well.

What brought that question up was a deep conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. He, Dan, has been diagnosed with depression for more than 4 years, and has been on at least 2 different medications. After taking pills for the first year or so he determined he felt better, and as such he wanted to distance himself from the meds. To stop taking them seemed to be the logical solution. Whether he tapered off or went cold turkey I’m not sure, fact is he quit. (Interesting topic for a conversation isn’t it, not sports, not women, but depression meds. Such is my life)

Shortly after that his wife asked him specifically if he was still taking his meds. He was surprised, and answered No, he had stopped some time before. She replied that she thought so, there were changes in him that led her to think that.

Hmm, I thought, I wonder if similar changes have been seen in me? Thus the question to my wife, and in this case No, she hasn’t seen a noticeable change or regression in me.

Back to the topic at hand, is a re-calibration required? I was going to say ‘should I rethink my blog’ but that horse is already out of the barn. So what kind of changes, if any, should I undertake, or do I leave things well enough alone?

Should I even continue to blog, period? Should I continue to write but choose another topic(s), and alter the Theme, Name and/or tagline? How about starting a new blog, with a different frame of reference or mindset behind it?

Maybe a photography blog, perhaps just a blog where I can write and continue with thoughts that hold little interest to the general populace. You know, kinda like it is now LOL.

But enough of the self-important, self-indulgent prattle, I think a change is in order and it’s only a matter of  How, or what.

These are the questions I am struggling with. Is a re-calibration required, and assuming Yes, then in what direction?

I’d be pleased to hear any input from followers.

Well Lit, Dark Place

Well Lit, Dark Place

I think I’m emotionally in a dark place lately, but at times it seems well lit, make sense?

A light in the dark
A light in the dark

It’s just that I feel emotionally alone, and that’s ok, that seems to be the dark place, and while I may not prefer it I do accept it in some fashion. It’s the fact that I seem to understand and accept the situation that makes it feel illuminated or lit.

And I don’t think it’s the ‘depression’, I believe it’s something more fundamental, something basic to my make-up or mental health.  I’m beginning to think it’s just the way I am.  Some of my first thoughts are that it’s Aspergers syndrome or some similar condition or disorder.  Some variation of Autism.  You can read about some of the characteristics here, on Wikipedia. Isn’t this curious, my self-diagnosis?

What precipitated this latest ah ha moment was a tv show called Dexter.  The show is about a man who witnessed the brutal slaying of his mother when he was a young child and the horrific situation made him emotionally disconnected as an adult.  Now I’ve never had those experiences but it’s the ongoing patter of his ‘inside voice’ that caused me to think.

We are somewhat alike. I have some of those same attributes, difficulty relating to others on an emotional level, emotionally disconnected, unable (or unwilling) to bond on a deeper emotional level.  Almost uncaring.  And yet I do feel deep sadness at times, and elated happiness. This is where I’d differ from my friend Dexter, that is where I can see how we are not so much alike.

Still, it makes me think, why am I the way I am?  Perhaps I need a stronger light to overpower the darkness.

A New Med Regime Is In Order

A New Med Regime Is In Order

I’m dropping the meds, well not dropping my medication totally just dropping the dosage.

When I was first diagnosed with depression the doctor put me on 30mg of Mirtazapine, an antidepressant with the added benefit of being a sleep aide. In addition to my feeling emotionally crappy I had also been having trouble sleeping consistently.  Subsequent to that we raised it to 45 mg as I felt had stopped making progress, maybe I had even regressed a bit.  In hindsight I wonder if any of it was true.

20121019-233653.jpgA number of months ago I lowered my dosage back to 30 mg and then some time after that down ever further to 15 mg. This was after I had left work, not retired officially but was in the process of burning all my vacation and banked time.  I was feeling better and whether the decision was right or wrong I wanted to get off the “juice”.  My wife questioned my decision.

A few days ago I reduced the dosage down even further to 1/2 of one of the 15 mg tablets, or 7 mg +or-.  Only time and the stability of my disposition will tell whether that was prudent or not.  And these changes are all without the doctors advice or knowledge.  Again whether right or wrong I can’t say.

I still maintain my “depression” was more situational than psychological and upon further reading on a number of topics I also now wonder if emotional intensity is a factor.  Certainly the symptoms jive with my mood swings and their intensity but more reading will be in order before I can definitively say.

I guess the bottom line, or where the rubber meets the road, is where I’m at emotionally, how my mental health progresses.  That is what it’s all about isn’t it?  In that regard I’ve been feeling quite good lately, maybe even very good. Hearing myself say those words scares me though, like I’m waiting for the other foot to fall. I’m expecting some imminent decline in my mood or mental health. I’m thinking the doldrums must be around the corner because this is too good to be true.

What is around the corner is winter and with it the shorter days and less sunlight. To compound the seasonal issues we live in a river valley at the confluence of two rivers. One of those is a bit warmer and the mixture of the two, combined with turbulence from the nearby dams makes for very foggy mornings.  A double-whammy, seasonal change and weather fluctuations.

The lack of sunlight has been detrimental to me before and as a means to cope with it, to mitigate the dreary days, I was using a SAD light. This was after a doctor’s suggestion that I had Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADs).  I saw significant improvement in my moods after eating my breakfast in front of the light.  I was no longer as tired later in the day and my sweet tooth shrank to where a large bowl of ice cream at 9 pm was no longer a requirement.  On the whole I felt much better.

I haven’t used the SAD light in a couple years now.  Instead I now take a fish-oil supplement, an Omega 3 capsule, and have begun increasing my intake of vitamin D.  Both these changes seem to have helped me and the last time I tried the light I didn’t feel as much of an improvement.

Of course I am maintaining the supplement regime, I sleep better, my diet’s improved, and I’m putting concerted effort into improving my exercise schedule.  All these are good things and I’m “hoping” they are enough to keep me well.  I know “hope is not a plan” however I’m optimistic my new meds regime won’t backfire.

Wish me luck, please.

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.2

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.2

In my previous post I was giving a bit of an update on how I see things have gone for me lately, how I’m feeling better and generally less angry and frustrated.  I think I’m coming out of this tunnel called Depression. I believe I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train (I hope).

I discussed some of my symptoms, the treatments and path I took to deal with it, the meds and my visits with a counselor.  I left off with the discussion about if the death of my sons had any role in my depression.

More to the saga – read here

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.1

Depression. Mine is……well, Depressed – pt.1

I’ve been feeling pretty good lately, not at all angry and as unhappy as I was before.  My depression, if that what it is, seems to have diminished or become depressed itself.  I was never 100% sure it was depression but as I understand there is a broad spectrum of symptoms and I had a number of them.  In some ways it’s hard to remember really what it was like during the bad times but I think some mental health issues are like that, in that when you start feeling good you forget a bit about what feeling bad was like.  I have a sense I didn’t like it much.  Being as I’m in a good space now I thought I could update things a bit.  Have a seat with me and let’s roll.

Intrigued? Read more

Coming out of the Closet , Is it Time?

Coming out of the Closet , Is it Time?

Open book

I’ve been posting for about a year now and I wonder…Is it time to come out of the closet, to be an open book?  Before you jump to conclusions I should elaborate.

This morning before writing in my journal, after checking emails and having breakfast etc., etc., I watched one of the Ted Talks called Mena Trott on Blogs, where she discusses her perspective on blogging.  In her presentation she comments particularly on how blogging is a means for those who want to know you to learn about who you are, not only biographically but what kind of person you are and how you think.  This made me think, will those I know and love ever know that about me?

Read More Read More

Ennui, Now there’s a Word

Ennui, Now there’s a Word

I just “re” learned a word, “ennui”, meaning (from the Free Dictionary) “a listlessness and dissatisfaction, resulting from lack of interest; boredom”.  That pretty much sums up my state of affairs, I’m ennuied.

photo from http://workplacepsychology.net
photo from http://workplacepsychology.net

Nothing much has changed here since my last post (yesterday), there has been no discussion nor questions by my Manager as to what I’m doing or when I’m doing it.  I’m operating in a vacuum on that side.  I told myself that I would try to maintain an ongoing diary of my last days so this is my purpose in posting this drivel, Some day I’ll be able to look back and gain a understanding of my past life.  I don’t know if this can help anyone else but who knows.

I have actually considered making another appointment with my counselor, I haven’t seen her for quite a while and there have been a few changes in my life, most notably a grandson and imminent retirement.  Neither of these were at hand when we last met and I think she’d be interested.  I’ve also changed the dosage on my meds (self adjusted as it were) and that may be of interest to her as well.  She was the one who suggested I write, not a blog mind you but in a paper journal.  So here I am.  I’m also thinking retirement may help me keep my mood on track and my hope is to get off drugs all together.  The whole mood thing has me a bit baffled and is it just my sunny (or otherwise) disposition or some other chemi/psycho issue.  Mostly I just think I’m weird but the verdict could be out on that.

My writing was initially a means to an end, a way to track my progress and if I developed any readership then my postings may mean something to them.  We all want to help others, right?  So I’ve blogged, sometimes faithfully and sometimes periodically, and found I’ve enjoyed it.  It’s helped me avoid some boredom, I’m less indifferent, it’s given me a bit of a purpose different than family and outside of household repairs.  Soon I can focus solely on all these things.  I’ll be de-Ennuied.

Mo's Birthday and gittin' sumpin done

Mo's Birthday and gittin' sumpin done

Well it’s the Queen’s birthday today, and not not the Queen of England or some such country, but the Queen of my house, Mo.  She acquired that name from our friend Andrew, he annointed her with it during one of our house renovations where he came to do the job and I helped.  I’m not quite sure why he called her that, although I’m going to believe it was a term of respect.  It’s all about our choice about how to receive things, right?

At any rate I’ve made pancakes for breakfast, and we’ll have a steak bar-b-que for dinner where I’ll prepare one of her favourite feasts for her, complete with my signature ‘shrooms.  The eatin’ kind, not the magic kind.

I feel pretty good today, ambitious and looking forward to accomplishing something.  As I’ve posted before even some small accomplishments go a long way to making me feel better, and the size or scope will expand over time.  The important thing is to do, not talk about doing.

It must sound like I’m a slackard or something, given my posts and descriptions of my activities.  Really I don’t think I am.  I do stuff, ok maybe not tons of stuff, but I do do things.  I maintain the house and yard, vehicles as well, and just try to find a balance between those types of tasks and personal mental care.  Sometimes I think I just swing a bit too far toward the mental care focus, and procrastination takes hold.  And you know the thing is, for me at least, that going too far that way can be counter-productive.  If I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished something in the “job jar” area I actually begin to feel worse.  I think part of the reason is that I’m quite handy and able to do many things that when I sluff off tasks it feels somewhat demeaning.  I know I can do so much more.  Hence back to my looking forward to doing something.

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed

The last number of days have been pulling me down. Many issues with my father’s care are demanding time and energy, energy I want to expend toward my own mental health. I chose the word “want” because that’s the choice I feel is warranted. I “want” to be there for my Dad too, but it’s beginning to be unhealthy for me, my frustration and my bitterness is growing toward him. I can understand how children with elderly parents living with them can be driven to do things they never thought they could. I don’t condone nor approve, nor do I think it is in any way good or normal, I can just see how the bubble can grow until it ruptures. That in itself makes me sad.