Asking for help is something I am personally terrible at doing. I am wondering if it is a learned art form that we acquire as we grow up which we should learn from healthy parents. My parents were not ones to ask for help from others. Ever. We were discouraged from acknowledging we needed assistance or help from others. I needed help this week and couldn’t bring myself to ask others for it. Luckily others saw that I needed it before something happened and helped me get the medical assistance that I couldn’t seem to get on my own. I was asked a number of times in a number of ways about getting help this week until I ended up in the ER tonight after being at the doctor’s office today. I don’t know how to ask others for help because I have never been around others who ask for help in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming and intrusive when you do. I feel like the response from others when I do ask for help is scary and unpredictable and tends to make me feel very anxious bordering on panic. Because I panic, I tend to be even more reluctant to allow others to know I am struggling with anything whether it be physical, emotional, or something else like vocational. I feel like the child I was who used to have to go it alone and was punished for reaching out to others while growing up in an abusive household. Today I am back at Step one admitting my life is unmanageable and I am wondering if I will ever get past the unmanagability some days. I wonder if my life has purpose and meaning or if I am just a huge screw up. I wonder if I hurt more people than I help. I wonder if I can get it together right now and put my feet back on solid ground. Some part of me knows that I am going through this because I have been on steroids too much lately for my mood disorder. And yet I still suffer from the black dog of depression shadowing me and not helping my physical health recover. Why does recovery have to be so darn hard to constantly pursue?! I wish it could be a linear line progress that I did not falter upon.
Resiliency comes in many forms and choices. While I have been under an enormous amount of stress the last few weeks, I still have choices on how to live my life in a way that that allows for more joy to enter in. The above quote is actually a Swedish proverb though some people accredited the quote to writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson; and actor Johnny Depp, on most web sites. It reminds me not to take life too seriously and endorphin releasing a good heat belly laugh is. One o my co-workers has the most infectious laughs to be around. It’s contagious. She brings joy to our whole team just by being present with her humour and fun- loving spirit. This proverb helped to remind me that I am usually good at using the love passage from 1 Corinthians as a mantra throughout my work day and I haven’t been doing that and it shows. I am not as patient; I am not letting go of wrong doings, I am not other-centered vs. self-centered, etc. I could go on but I think you get the point. I needed to be reminded that I am in need of more laughter and love in my life especially at work.
Send me your best attempts at humor…try to keep it fairly so I can retell the jokes without incident to my clients who could use a laugh with me. I love mental health jokes by the way.
September is suicide prevention month. As someone who has struggled with suicidal ideation and nearly died from a suicide attempt and lost numerous friends and clients to suicide this month means a little bit more to me than most people. Tonight at a DBSA meeting I heard someone minimize suicidal ideation. It kind of made me furious. I believe (totally my perception) that anyone thinking about suicide is capable of doing it and needs help. It may be a cry for help but better a heard cry for help than an ignored one. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and wanting to die I hope and pray that you will reach out to someone who you can trust. It takes a huge deal of courage to do this but it may prevent a permanent solution to a short term problem. Don’t get me wrong… I think that living with depression and mood disorders are very painful experiences that take huge tolls on people’s lives. But I also believe in hope, recovery and the process of change. While I still suffer from dark times in the abyss, I can also experience joy and laughter and love now. Don’t give up hope if you are suffering from suicidal ideation. This too shall pass.
Eating disorders are tough things. Since I went back to work I have still been meeting with the dietician every week. I had been eating without restricting and maintaining my weight loss until I had to be on Prednisone twice in the last two and a half weeks…once for an allergic reaction and once for bronchitis. Then the pounds started pouring on. I keep trying to tell myself that all of the weight gain is due to the steroids but it is not easy to do. I have been cooking meals and getting groceries with my significant other for the last few months and adjusting slowly to the fodmap diet.
We both struggle with weight issues and so have made the commitment to shop, fix and eat healthy foods. we’ve stayed committed to the process of this and support each other. I have to admit that this past week though that I was pretty darn freaked out by the 6 pound weight gain from the Prednisone. I wanted to give in and go back to restricting as soon as I saw the numbers. However, I didn’t and I have continued to make healthy choices and stay away from as many danger foods as possible.
I am grateful to be off the Prednisone . Hopefully my weight will return to normal as soon as possible. I need to start exercising again too. I have a gym membership that needs to be put to use. I may be eating and attempting to get close to the three healthy meals per day that the dietician wants me eating but I still struggle with body image like all get out. Maybe one day.
I have now been dating the same person for six weeks. It remains going well despite the struggle to return to work and balance both home and work life with a job that is both physically and mentally exhausting at times. Sometimes I feel like I fail at balancing both home and work life well and maintaining responsibilities. It is an ongoing challenge that most case managers/social workers face in their jobs. There is simply too much to do and too little time to do it in and it makes it hard to accomplish everything especially when you employment status is salary exempt (meaning that no matter how much work there is to be done you will only be paid 37.5 hours to complete it in whether you work 45-55. We are currently completing lean projects and our work load went up and they are trying to find ways for us to work smarter not harder.
I am still adjusting to being back at work and trying to catch up to speed with my clients while having other workers dump what they didn’t do in my lap that still needs to be completed while adjusting to the next requirements. Trying to juggle this plus several messes that were made of my clients’ situations which have left many of them in crisis since I returned, has not made an easy transition. Add on top that I came down with a case of bronchitis this past week and it was even more challenging. I am still trying to balance meeting my client needs with getting home early so that I can spentd time with my significant other and maintain our relationship. While it is going well, I know that the amount of hours I work has been taking it’s toll on them and that concerns me. So my goal this week was to use my hot spot which allows me to access our agency server and type progress notes as I am with the client. Then today my hot spot was not working. I felt more exasperated than words can speak. We have several deadlines this week due to it being month’s end and I am afraid that I won’t be able to make them and unless my boss can understand that my computer was not working this afternoon I couldn’I have handle going back to work receive a written warning for late paperwork. It is the icing the cake.
Mood wise I have done better than I thought I would in returning to work. I was very hesitant when we came to the point that I had to return to work. But overall it has gone better than I expected it to. I think that mood has been much more stable since I have someone to share my life with and have support from. I feel blessed by their presence in my life and like they bring out the best in me. The qualities of my personality that I often keep hidden I have been much more likely to share. They make me feel like they bring out the best qualities in my personality and character and for that I am a better person since they are in my life. I just need to be able to give equally at home and work and I have never done that before. Old dogs learning new tricks takes a while.
I love music. I lost my ability to sing after being on a ventilator in 2004 but I will still attempt to sing when I am moved to do so. I have benefited from having the ability to have music on my smart phone and take it with me wherever I may go. I am still musically inclined and love to play the piano and will go off and play hymns and worship songs to restore my soul when feel the need for re-centering and peace. I really do not like to play for others though because I learned to play a keyboard with headphones when I was little so as to not bother my father who was like walking on eggshells when you were around him when he came home from work and when we got home from school. Those head phone to that keyboard gave me countless hours of music to play uninterrupted and floating away from reality. I wish I could still sing with the voice I had from pre-ventilator days but that is never going to happen. I am content to carry music in my soul and have it carry me through my days. What song keeps you going? What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear. This summer I went through a rough patch and listen to the song “Swim” quite a bit to get through the dark, depressive days after my friend committed suicide. There are several others I like as well and have a while mental health recovery playlist on my music account. Please share your favorites in the comments.
I have been adjusting to being back at work and then I came down with bronchitis this past weekend. I feel like I am struggling to maintain my weight and I have been lax about what I eat and not exercising and the result for a while was I was maintaining or able to continue to lose weight but now that I am sick and needing steroids to stay well enough to work this week until I get my IVIG treatment I will probably gain weight and that scares the crap out of me. I got on the scale tonight (stupid time to get on a scale) and I weighed more than I have for nearly three months. I feel freaked out. Panic is setting in and I am doing everything possible to try and not overreact. My partner and I have been cooking healthy meals together but I still find myself struggling within about this.
Today I saw the dietician and talked with her about how hard the conflict was getting lately. The doctor made sure that I would take my lunch hour when I went back to work. Last week I didn’t eat lunch at all. I find myself wanting to go back on the strict diet I had before when I knew I was losing weight and didn’t have to worry about what the scale was going to say every week.
I am in tears as I write this. Tears that I have been holding in for the last couple of weeks. If you have never had an eating disorder, than it is near impossible to understand the struggle and inner conflict that goes on with it. Every mirror feels like an enemy and you never quite know how to take someone saying “You look like you have lost weight.” My co-workers said when I came back to work earlier this month to me just that but added that I shouldn’t lose too much. I’ve been trying to find balance and it tonight it feels far, far away.
Maybe it is just the Prednisone that they gave me to treat my bronchitis but it feels like so much more and has for a while.