This week marks the one year anniversary of my blog. I still struggle to balance my time between work, treatment, recovery and rest. The past few months have brought a job change that is less stressful, continued treatment, and continued work towards recovery. This year has been a year of progress in so many ways. It has had some major challenges and set backs at times but my mood is so much more stable, I have been in a stable relationship for nearly a year now, and have a more stable med med regimen. I have also slowly been learning to accept my weight and body shape at whatever weight or shape I am at. I am grateful for so many things.including all of my followers and their support.
Thank you for a memorable first year.
Tonight I write with a heavy heart. My nephew’s best friend died by suicide today. He is hurting with a pain that is inconceivable to many people. This is a pain we now share. Tonight as I spoke with him I realized how many hurtful comments I have heard when I lost a friend in my life to suicide. Most of these came from individuals who did not understand mental health issues and the pain one feels when they are experiencing suicidal ideation. Even though I have gone through a number of deaths by suicide, I could only tell my nephew to ignore the words that are offensive and cherish the memories of his friend in his heart. I am more worried about keeping my nephews and niece alive who are impacted by this death. Suicide contagion is very real and very serious and my nephew already has suffered from a mood disorders. I worry about his life after this experience.
There are no easy words for those suffering with suicidal thoughts. You are more than your depression. It may not feel like it but you are. If in a mixed state, you are more than your present mood state. You are enough. You are lovable.
There is hope. It might come in the smallest thing. For me it was a song called “Swim” by Jack’s Mannequin. Find it, hold onto and don’t give up.
Being my rather OCD self, I went to the library in my hometown to look for the most recommended books on habits yesterday. Once I set my mind to something I become pretty determined to accomplish it. One specific book, recommends focusing on one task at a time to change. Right now I have about 30 times that on my list. I went to the dietician today for the first time in months to talk about goals. I had a list of seven when I walked in the door to meet with her and was able to explain each one and the reason behind them. They are prioritized so I know which ones are the most important to focus on and there are some that are simple like making phones calls or completing labs. The dietician didn’t seem to think I had lost all my marbles but a few of them were rolling through the Kerplunk game a little faster than normal this week.
I have spent some time time contemplating the one vs multiple changes occurring at the same time the last 24 hours. I am left with “radical recovery.” I think of several people who I know who made the decision to finally get clean or sober and did 90 meetings in 90 days and basically overhauled their lives to maintain their sobriety. When I think about making changes to my life, that is what comes to mind. Most people in mental health recovery don’t have the type of support offered by AA or NA meetings. The closest thing we have here is a Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) meeting once a week for people with mood disorders and their supports. I do have supports in my life who would support me if I shared I was making major overhaul changes though. Probably more than I realize.
In order to make multiple changes at once and be successful I have created a list of things that needs to be a priority or commitment to eventually succeed because I am not delusional. I realize I may fail at some, hopefully succeed at some and make progress at other goals.
Change toolbox for success
- Make health and exercise a priority
- Persistence and perseverance
- Not afraid to fail
- Take full responsibility for my life
- Create my own morning routine
- Have a support system
- Takes initiative
- Surround yourself with like minded people
- Communicate clearly
- Good listening skills
- Value alone time
- Discipline and self control
- Follow through with what you say (no excuses, only results)
Love the journey more than the results.
I know I might be dreaming but I made the choice to change some key things in my life pretty radically and the only way to be successful is to follow this list.
I have been struggling with depression still and re-evaluating my goals and self discipline that are needed for me to achieve and accomplish my goals. In light of recent events I have been trying to decide what my values are at this point. It seems like a daunting task on some days.
Re-defining yourself in the wake of what could be a terminal illness is scary. Old goals seem obsolete and unimportant. Working for money’s sake does not seem to be such a priority. Wanting to spend time with loved ones and be in the best possible health does. Spending time doing a meaningful career seems much more important. Spending time doing things I love feels more valuable than time fillers like watching TV. Getting rid of clutter is essential. Doing my bucket list more pressing than before.
I don’t know if I have shared that I have taken care of others for most of my teen and adult life. I am feeling like I’m kind of over it right now. I need to take care of me and frankly I don’t think I have been doing well at it. Harsh reality check.
So you will hear me blogging on self discipline and change and goals for at least a month ( it takes 21 days at least to start a new habit.) There will be word art (I have a new app on my phone and a new printer), regular art, goal setting for short and long term projects and other happening things.
Take a trip with me and see where we go. I may face the world jobless this week but I am trying to believe that may not be a bad thing.
Be blessed on your own journey’s my friends.
It took me forever to learn what the words comorbidity or comorbid meant. For some reason it just did not want to sink in and register that it was having a mental illness in addition to a physical health issues or having multiple mental health diagnoses. Maybe the word morbid being part of it didn’t help. It should have…my physical health issues have a “morbid” twist to them and I tend to make jokes about my CVID and lymphoma…trauma and PTSD and eating disorder not so much.
I probably confuse most of my blog readers because when I started my blog I truly meant to keep it as a social worker’s perspective of living with a mental illness (or two or three or four diagnoses: Bipolar Disorder, Eating disoder, PTSD, and ADD w/OCD tendencies.) I was diagnosed with CVID(common variable immune deficiency) in 2006. I lack 4 of 5 gamma proteins that help you fight infection. One is given back to me by i.v. every four weeks (IgG). This puts me at great risk for cancer especially lymphoma which I was diagnosed with for a second time this past fall. I have included my physical health issues in my blog because they have been overwhelming at times. I am juggling a lot right now in the health department and have managed to get by fairly well mental health wise with a few crashes here and there mostly involving my relationship due to some type of misunderstanding. Physical health issues have been difficult to overcome… pain is a daily stressor as well as fatigue and I am still learning how to cope with these things. It all gets blurred in my blog.
I struggled over whether or not I would share my lymphoma diagnosis in October and I did after avoiding my blog for several weeks. I sometimes feel like I have been put through the ringer. I really just want to spend time with people I love. Some in my life don’t understand this. They don’t get the pain and amount of effort it takes to fight every day either.
So if it seems like my blog is heading in a scattered direction it is because my life has been since last Fall. Bear with me as my life unfolds. I am watching the process with you.
Much love and peace to you all ❣️ W.L.
I shared I went to Jim Brickman concert for my birthday. It was a gift. The giver has no idea of the value. As a little girl, I learned that music was able to help me travel in my mind through a full size organ that I learned to play amongst turmoil with headphones on. I grew up listening to classical, spiritual, and eventually new age piano music. The latter was able to destress me and I would visualize being free of whatever fear was paralyzing me that moment and dance (freely like a leaf being blown softly in a warm sunny Fall Day.)
While I am an eccletic music lover. I turn to piano music for solace and stress management and find myself drawn to hymns played in the new age style of music. Most people might think I’m nuts which is okay because I have been before and I am probably gonna be again… I can rise above the earthly things when I listen to music and visualize myself dancing. It makes my mood improve, it decreases the unbearable pain that my body feels in increasing amounts, and slows my breathing to help me calm down when at the hospital and I hate being there. I wish I were as good a ballerina in real life as when I am floating with the music
I wish everyone could learn to visualize that intensely.
P.s. the highlight of the Jim Brickman concert was when he played a request for my family of a medley of hymns focused around “it is well with my soul “
At times I find myself thinking about death and dying. I’m pretty sure it comes with the cancer diagnosis. I try hard not to stay here for long periods of time. I have been trying hard to enjoy each day I am given as a gift to remember to stay in the present moment and live it to the fullest extent. I don’t know the future. My gut tells me to enjoy life and my friends and family as much as I can now because tomorrow is not promised. It is my gut feeling that I have been having since I was diagnosed. There have been a few reinforcers since then. Telling those around you that you are thinking of death and dying though goes over over like a lead balloon. The questions start pouring out like the third Inquisition They forget all the stats on CVID and cancer let alone Bipolar Disorder. There are very very few people around in life who are able to handle a discussion with you about life and death without freaking out and losing their poop so to speak, especially those who are closest to you. Though I am not a religious person of sorts due events in my life I am a person who has a deep faith. This conversation or conversations may come down to meeting with a pastor to to relieve some of the things I have been trying to process individually with great difficulty. No one ever said that having a terminal illness would be easy I just watch to make memories happen while I am able to. If you have ever had a chronic illness, there is not a day that goes by that isn’t impacted by it. It is a matter of how much you allow it to impact your life that matters. How much does your mental or physical health diagnosis impact your life? How do you decide?
So much going on and so little time to write. 2/4 I received a call from the doctor that they wanted to move my surgery up…to that day. I had a lump removed from just above the knee joint that was making it terribly painful to move and cope with on an increasing basis. So at 8:00, I was rethinking my whole week and how to tell my boss I was having surgery at 3:30 that day without announcing it in our staff meeting which I ended up doing anyways that morning. I managed to watch most of the surgery… I was given the choice to and decided to watch the stupid painmaker say their final goodbyes. The path report was so so. Carcinoma wrapped around scar tissue. I went on 2/15 to get the stitches out but it hadn’t healed shut yet. We’re watching for infection now as the pain has taken a sudden increase again. I attempted (very poorly) to use crutches the first couple of days but it made me so sore upper body wise I quickly she’d them for a cane. Mostly I am limping along now at a pretty good pace. The cane is there when I need it. Thank God for pain meds for when my work day is over. For those who wonder how crazy I am… I went to the pharmacy first thing the day after my surgery to get gauze and bandages and ointment for the wound…instead of telling the pharmacy tech to have a nice day, I told her to have a nice trip…woops. I asked my friend for a ride that day to and from work but still managed to attend a mandatory training for our team. Thursday was harder. Seeing clients on crutches while attempting to carry your work brief case was an insane task! Thank God I had Friday off because I worked Wednesday!!! I was about dead on a doornail but had a full weekend planned with lots of celebrations.
We have survived the polar freeze here this past week with five days of work called off due to weather. Poor Al ( my dog whose nickname is Alcoholic because he can’t hold his licker) even got three new outfits and a set of snow boots to cope with the -40 degree windshield. He looked pretty hilarious in his multiple layers to go outside to do his duties. He wasn’t to sure about putting on his boots though. We have some pretty funny videos of him learning how to get used to them.
Today was the first day we had work since last Thursday but I had medical tests today to investigate two new lumps in my abdomen. I am praying that the tests results come back soon waiting is never easy. The results will determine what type of treatment I do next. Having cancer is scary at times. This has been one of those times. I never know quite what to say to others while waiting for test results so I usually don’t mention anything until I know something. I have been waiting to have a growth removed from my leg. Surgery is set for March. The pain though is growing exponentially and I am on a cancellation list. We may have to switch specialists in order to get it done sooner.
This week while attempting to juggle things and maintain my nonschedule of shoveling, snowblowing and warming up I completely missed morning meds every morning. That means missing my mood stabilizer and amtidepressant as well as medical meds. Knowing and doing are sometimes two entitely different things. So hopefully one day I will learn not to miss any medications.