Making it through the day

Like all mental illnesses we have good days & we have bad days, & that’s OK for the most part, except when you are expected to work at a very high level for the whole day.
This can be very stressful, & you are constantly fighting with the voices in your head. The ones that create self doubt & tell you to rather pack it in because you are no good.

I don’t have the luxury of being able to sit back & take it easy. The work pressure is high & I have to do it. This adds to feelings of anxiousness, to the point of a spinning head & heart palpitations. I am therefore having to force myself to deal with the problems head on, & you know what; I think I am getting stronger for it.
It’s a very difficult mindset that I feel myself in, but you have to keep up the hope that it is going to get better. My previous meds prevented the anxiety, but at the cost of being a half zombie & not caring enough for the quality of life or work that I put out. These new meds & being treated for MDD are a good start, but it is still very important to not let a label own you.

Stay positive, push to remain focused & while the day might drag a bit sometimes, I get through the day. It does mean that by the end of the day I am physically & mentally exhausted, but running a marathon does the same thing to your body.
Take the downtime when you can get it, & after a long day, get home & force your brain to relax. BREATH. Life must go on. Get a good nights sleep, but don’t go to bed too early because your brain wakes up before you do!
That is a good thing though because it means you are ready to fight another day.

Always look for meaning in your day, & reaffirm in your mind that you are a contributing member of society. You have a family to support & responsibilities that don’t really care how you are feeling.

A little ray of hope

In the quest for a normal life again, we are all faced with many challenges. For those of us who suffer from Depression, BPD & Anxiety, these challenges become even harder.
I am learning though, that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Celebrate the wins. Put ticks next to your “To Do” list when you have finished them. Everyone has one of these lists, but very few of us have a “Completed” list. There is definitely something empowering about completing a task, & even more so if that tasks results in a positive outcome for you & your business.

Being constantly under the microscope at the moment for me, means that I have to hasten the results that I need to achieve. I can’t wait for my new meds to do all the work, nor can I rely on them completely. Yes, they are intended to bring me back to some level of “Normal”, but don’t wait on just that you get you up in the morning. It will be an uphill struggle, but you have to keep pushing forward. Inaction is a dark friend of my condition, & one that is easy to slip back to. Accept this fact, & then make a determined effort to fight against it.

Anxiety

What is this feeling that I can’t shake? I can’t seem to switch off from all the work tasks that I need to do, even over a weekend. Even though you think that you have had a relatively good week, & sent out all your communications & feedback, you still dread that one E-Mail that arrives over the weekend, pulling you into self doubt & asking if you have done enough, could you have done better, did you remember to do X?

I think that the problem is partly waiting for new meds to help with the feelings, but it’s also not sure of your next move & will it be the right one. Stress seems to play a large part, & learning to accept the feelings, processing them & moving on from that point. Spending quality time with family & being outdoors certainly helped, & I need to get a personal grip on my surroundings, & not let them control me.
It’s not easy, & it will be an uphill battle, but slowly this feeling should pass, & I have to pay particular attention to it. I can’t just let it control me, I have to be the boss.

It’s a rocky road to recovery

Sleep, glorious sleep!
Changing your medication regimen is not an easy task. Side effects which I usually don’t experience too much, have really affected me, & I have battled to get through a full work day without suffering from these.
The two biggest ones, have been insomnia, & feelings of nausea all the time, as well as intense tension type headaches in the back of my head.

This however should all pass, & it’s a game of patience. You can’t expect to take a pill & feel immediately better. Already last night, I got my first decent nights sleep in 3 days, & woke up this morning feeling more refreshed. The nausea & headache is still with me, but with careful symptomatic meds for these have eased it.

I’m starting to feel a bit more like my old self, & am beginning to be able to formalise plans in my head & commit to paper, which is an important step. There is something to be said by doing this, & makes space for more ideas & thought processes to be created.

It’s a difficult road, but with the support of my family, they will help me back onto the right path.

The road to recovery

So while I had plans to write a daily blog on my experiences, life always seems to get in the way of the best laid plans.
From my last post, the days have all seemed to roll into one. I had managed to get an appointment with both my Psychiatrist & my Psychologist on the same day, which worked out perfectly.
I had always known that something was off kilter with my current regimen of meds that I was on, & I had a detailed discussion with my Doc about this.
I was taking Stratera for the ADD, Lamotrigine for mood stabilizing, & Rivotril for anxiety. What wasn’t being addressed, were my very depressive mood & thoughts. I had prepared for my appointment, & written a list of words of emotions that I had been feeling over the last few months, & this was definitely a big help in keeping the discussion on track with both my doctors as to how I was feeling.

It is always good to be able to speak to someone “impartial”, outside your normal support structure, as advise that they impart is always taken better. There is still a lot of work to do with my Psychologist, & it is very much a longer term strategy there, & I see the shorter term solution as medication. I am a believer that medication is the way to get you to a point that you feel that you are well enough to be able to make life decisions & to act on them, which is then where my Psychologist comes in to help with coping mechanisms.
My condition has has serious ramifications on both my personal & work life, to the point that work is placed almost on a knife edge as to whether you will still have a job. I certainly cannot afford to loose my job over this disorder, but I needed to be able to get to a point that I could come up with, & want to work with strategies to make it better & be a normal functioning person. Family is a lot more forgiving, while work will tolerate things to a point. I have not told my employer exactly what is wrong with me, & I don’t really want to use it as an excuse either.
My doctor has prescribed me a heavy anti depressant, along with changing the meds for ADD & Anxiety.
Suffice to say, changing my meds always has a transition period, & this time I am experiencing some unpleasant side effects as I get used to the new meds. I am on day 3 of them, & the side effects have been affecting day to day functioning. Nausea has been a big one, as well as fatigue during the day, but then insomnia at night, creating a vicious cycle of needing to sleep, not being able to, & then feeling tired all over again the next day.
I am hoping that this will be a short transition, & already if my stomach decides to settle, I feel more awake & open to possibilities that I haven’t experienced for some time. I am not however relying completely on my meds to make me better. It takes a conscious effort to make changes in your life, to pull yourself out of the position you have found yourself in, & to refuse to relapse into your old ways again.

It is hard, but I have to do this if I want to remain a functioning member of society.
My wife has been & is incredibly supportive, but at the same time firm in what she does to help me through this, & has a vested interest in my well being.
The is a lot of work to do, but I know I can pull through this.

Day 15 (21st August 2017)

Why am I so tired?
I got to work, & felt totally drained before the day had even started, & felt totally down. Maybe it was Monday blues, & I thought that it would improve pretty quickly as I got involved in some work, but it didn’t. I procrastinated & found every excuse not to do what needed to be done.

After having a chat with my wife, I put down on paper exactly the emotions that I was feeling, & they were all very negative. Words like Apathetic, Indecisive & Indifferent were on the list among a page of others.
Definitely something not right, but putting these down on paper certainly lifted my spirits a bit, as I really found that I had something meaty to discuss with my doctor, who I managed to get an earlier appointment with for later this week.
By the afternoon I started to feel a lot more active, but still procrastinated when it came to doing work tasks that required me to be proactive as opposed to reactive, which seems to be how I have been going through most of this year.

I know that I can be better than this, & that I am not incapable of doing my job. I do it well when I am all together, but this is seeming to elude me right now. I am more convinced now, that there is something that is not working properly with my meds, & all of the thoughts that I am feeling are symptomatic of deep depression.

I also did some reading on the net, & came across a very good site for metal health, at http://www.Sadag.org, which is the website for the South Africa Depression & Anxiety Group. There were some very good articles on the site, & I was looking to see if there were any support groups that I could attend to be in a group that are feeling the same way as I am.

I have realised, that the only way to beat this disorder, besides ensuring that I am on the right medication, is to be open & honest with yourself & your immediate support group (Family). After that, including some close work peers into your circle of trust, is also a good way to relieve some of my problems.

i am now certainly looking forward to my appointments with both my psychologist, as well as my psychiatrist (Back to Back), as I have a clearer understanding of the emotions that I am feeling, instead of stabbing around in the dark.

Day 13 & 14 (19 & 20th August 2017)

Weekend. My brain says that it’s time to recharge & not do much at all if possible. I know that this is not the right outlook to have, & that I should be keeping busy, but the sheer physical effort (well what my brain envisages) makes it very difficult.
Looking for something to do & get out the house, I run an errand to the store for the wife with my son in tow.
He asks for a chocolate to which I say no, & then we can’t find a particular item, but we find a suitable substitute.

My son phones home to speak to Mom to see if he can have the chocolate, & is the substitute all right?
This makes me flip my lid! Am I not good enough? Am I not a good enough parent that my decision is right? I end up chastising my son, & am so angry, that it has now set the tone for most of the rest of the day, where I will chew on this & wallow in anger & also feels pangs of disappointment about my actions that were unnecessary towards my son.

Everyone else in the house seems to find things that need to be done, & I am left to wallow some more, until I decide to join my son, who is cleaning the bathroom shower with his homemade (seen on You Tube) drill mounted scrubbing brush. (He’s a smart kid!)
All I wanted to do was have an afternoon sleep, but I know & so does the family that this is not the right thing to do. I can’t keep isolating myself from my family.

The evening eventually comes, & it’s a step closer to bedtime. The family are watching a second movie, & I escape to the room, get into my pajamas & into bed. I should shower, but I couldn’t be bothered.

Sunday morning, & I can’t seem to find the restful sleep that I was looking for. The one that you wake up from in the morning feeling refreshed & ready for the day. Instead, I try to force myself to sleep some more, but that just makes it even worse.
Nothing to do really today, so I read the paper, & eventually get dressed. I don’t feel like having to have another day. What’s the point? I feel that there is nothing really in my life at the moment that holds any interest for me. Pangs of self pity & at the same time guilt for not wanting to be with my family wash over me. This is not right.

By Sunday afternoon, the family want to go out & watch my nephew play rugby. I just want to stay at home, because I really don’t like rugby. My daughter chastises me for not wanting to be with the family, & in anger I say OK, I’ll come with you.
I’m grumpy & don’t really speak to anyone, but it’s actually quite nice out in the sun. I still couldn’t care about the rugby, but at least in person physically , but perhaps not yet in person emotionally, I am there.

The day ends off with my wife sending a WhatsApp to the kids about there lack of help around the house & unappreciative attitude to what we as parents sacrifice for them to have what they need. We don’t have a lot, but what we do have, we sink into making sure that the kids have to better their future.
I can’t but think that I am just a hanger on in all of this sometimes. My wife is the real driver in this family.
I want to be more, & do more, but it is so difficult to get over this barrier that I feel. Is it self created? Perhaps in some part. Can I break it down? Perhaps in some part. Do I need help(medically) to break it down? Definitely. Do I have my families support? Definitely. I just need to ask for it.
I know my family are there for me, & I wish that is was as easy as “just asking”, but I have to want to get better from the support that I receive. I don’t want to let anyone down after they have decided to help me. I want this, but do I need it?
That is the feeling that I have right now. Misery begets misery, & we wallow in all this self pity very easily. It takes a lot of effort to pull yourself out of it. I know I can do it, but it has been such a long time that it won’t be easy.
My biggest hurdle in my mind, is financial. I know that we can get out as a family & do things, but it all costs money that we don’t have extra of. There are only so many times you can go for a walk somewhere, but maybe that’s all that we need, & it costs nothing.

This is a low point at the moment, & reading back to my previous posts, is definitely one of my low points. I have to do something about this, but I can’t seem to find the energy, or the urge. What lurks behind this apathy is not pretty, but I can’t do this alone.
I need help.

My family are always & will always be there for me, but I need more, & I’m going to get it.
Hello Doc. Do you have a cancellation for this week so I can see you instead of having to wait another week? Hello other Doc. Can I get an appointment please…

Day 12 (18th August 2017)

I seem to have got over the very early morning wakings, but it’s now gone to the other extreme, where I am battling to wake up & get out of bed. I get to work & already feel dog tired. It may be because I have had a very busy week, & my body is feeling it, or I may be cycling, but it’s difficult to put a finger on it.
Besides the tiredness, the will to want to work was not there, & I procrastinated with myself most of the day to get things done. I certainly was not as productive as I could have been at work.

Later in the afternoon was my dreaded fortnightly management review meeting, which always fills me with thoughts of dread & pumps my anxiety way up there, so that I get heart palpitations & my ears start ringing. This is not normally like me of old, & seems to get worse & worse.
I think that the reason for it, is that no matter how much preparation I do for it, I always dread the questions that I haven’t thought about, that leave me stammering to formulate a response. It’s not because I don’t know the answer, but rather that I can’t seem to put it in a way that makes sense. I hate this being put on the spot, hence the heightened feelings of anxiety & stress. I can be so much more eloquent when I write something down to get my point across, because I have time to think about what it is I need to say & get across.

The weather here has also been pretty foul & cloudy as well over the last few days, which also makes me feel quite lazy, & bringing on that urge to sleep. At least winter is starting to move on, & spring is on the horizon. I wouldn’t say that I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Anxiety Disorder), but the weather certainly does have some sort of impact on my mood.
I have been searching for & reading quite a number of blogs over the last week as well, & there are some interesting thoughts out there. It’s also good to know that I am not alone in my struggles, & that there are people who are fighting the same demons that I am, & going through the same life challenges.

Onwards & upwards. Can’t see my Shrink soon enough to have a major discussion with him about my feelings.

Why the World Needs Neurodiversity

Neurodivergent Rebel

Neurodiversity relates to the way a person thinks and experiences the world.

The thoughts below evolved from a conversation with someone opposed to the theory on another blog. The opposer claimed neurodiversity ignores health problems commonly associated with the neurodiverse condition and questioned how identical twins could have one ND (neurodiverse) twin and on NT (neurotypical or “normal”) twin if neurodiversity is genetic.

I’m currently drafting another paper regarding environmental epigenetics to address the questions about twins, but the first statement, a misunderstanding of neurodiversity, I am addressing here.

Lots of neurodiverse people have co-occurring conditions (Anxiety, IBS, migraines, sensory overload, insomnia, etc.). These things can be disruptive to one’s life and may require medical attention. Nobody is trying to deny these medical conditions are, at best, an inconvenience.

Everyone has a genetic predisposition to some sicknesses, neurodiverse people just have a common list of accompanying illnesses.

The definition of…

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