31-05-2016 12:30 PM
Edit Feb 2018: This thread has evolved into a chat thread, which is fine by me. In addition, I encourage other members to feel free to post their own 'long raves' in here too if wished. I will continue to post my own longer raves from time to time, as well as chat with friends along the way.
Original post from May 2016:
First of all, a (very) long post alert. Please don't feel obliged to read or respond. Mainly I am writing today to clear my own head of some things. So, here goes...
Last week, I managed to get to all planned appointments and activities every day of the week except Sunday. That only amounts to one, maximum two, per day, but was an improvement on previous weeks and months. I've made all planned appointments in a week before, but there have not been so many appointments in so many days consecutively. Many of you will know that, prior to about mid last year, I spent years very rarely leaving the flat. This was since the last of my breakdowns from paid employment in 2008 (one of so many similar breakdowns from paid working, though none as devastating in consequence as this last one). With each of these breakdowns, the recovery time got longer and longer. It's taken eight years to recover much at all this time around.
This week, so far, I've made none of my appointments or activities. In fact, I've not showered for days. Embarrassing to admit but maybe helpful to own up to it. As I write I'm still in what I wore to bed, as I was all day yesterday and the day before. The weird thing is that I don't feel that bad in my emotions, just crashed out physically and lacking almost all motivation except to use the computer. In other words, my mind and fingertips are alert and active, in fact nervy and overactive as usual, but the rest of me is crashed out. Perhaps I have entered what some people call a bipolar 'mixed state'. Whatever the terminology, this is where I am and I've been here so many times before.
The way I see it, there are a number of possible reasons for the way I am after last week:
Regarding the psychologist. She is young compared to me and I have the feeling that she may not grasp the full extent of my situation, partly through lack of life experience. Perhaps she may particularly lack an understanding of the various physical ailments that complicate things with me, some age-related (menopause, musculo-skeletal problems), one of them a chronic illness (crohns disease). She is treating me with some techniques from Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, something I honestly have never liked the sound of when I've read about it. The main 'homework' I have for this four week period is a sheet I am meant to fill out every night covering various things including tobacco use, coffee intake, isolating, unbalance eating, sleep patterns, lack of exercise. The sheet also includes sections monitoring mood every day. The problem I find is that monitoring and (by implication) tackling all these things at once is just overwhelming. I am significantly depressed after filling out the form because it seems to highlight all the ways I am failing rather than the ways I am succeeding. The psychologist has given me this sheet as homework once before and it had the same effect on me then. A full month long slump into depression is what followed. This sheet makes me feel very pressured to recover quickly from all of these things at once, a message that contradicts the advice of my psychiatrist (who I trust much more). His advice is to take it slowly and steadily and not feel rushed. As of yesterday, I stopped using the DBT form altogether. I am even considering giving up on the therapy with this psychologist after my next (sixth) session instead of seeing it through to the ten sessions my GP is willing to refer me for.
With the difficulty of further tobacco reduction, I am succeeding in reducing this a little more but the effort is gargantuan and seems to be sapping all the strength I have for making it out the door to my activities and appointments (or even to get dressed and showered). Writing here is just about the only thing that is distracting me from smoking again or thinking about it obsessively.
I've run out of steam on writing about it all now (a huge sigh of relief from any readers at this point).
I wonder if anyone else can make any sense of this.
31-05-2016 02:40 PM
31-05-2016 03:01 PM
First, here's some more hugs...
Just as with medication, different things work for different people at different times in their lives. The same is true for therapies...
Sometimes, any form of therapy at all can be totally sapping and not at all appropriate for what we are currently going through...
Just take it as it comes, and listen to your gut. Your gut is a wise thing...
Sometimes, we can analyse things too far. This is my concern. I have done this myself at various times - delved deeper and deeper into the whys and the wherefores and the whats... and it's ended up being counter-productive. In fact, it ended up doing more harm than good, so it was dropped for a while...
You show much self awareness, Maz. It is standing you in very good stead...
Happy vibes beaming your way...
31-05-2016 03:09 PM
31-05-2016 03:31 PM
Thanks @Former-Member, really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond. It's always good to hear from others who have experienced similar to what I'm going through (though obviously it would be even better if these things got neither of us down).
With the personal hygiene, I am better at it overall than I was, but fall down at times still. It can be a defeating problem because, if I don't shower, that makes it less likely I'll want to go out and face the world. It's my one goal for today to get myself into that daunting little cubicle, so that I'll be ready to get out tomorrow to my ukelele class and another medical appointment. I've been making almost all of my medical appointments for the past year now as they seem to be less threatening than the more open or optional 'good for me' social activities. I've made a lot of these activities too but I am much less reliable with them week to week.
I think you are right about taking on multiple goals at the same time. I think I just need to learn to juggle the best I can and not hate myself when I drop a ball. With the bipolar, my mood changes too over a single day quite often. For example, I'm not desperately craving a smoke right now and have managed to do a few things to care for myself and just enjoy myself a bit, like brush my teeth, take my meds properly and do a bit of uke practice.
Interesting to read of your experience with therapy. There are parts of what my psychologist gives me that do help. I probably really just need to ease up on feeling pressured to meet what I perceive to be all her expectations and talk to her about what is working for me and what isn't. I'm still not sure we have great rapport, a problem I found with my previous psychologist too. I only started seeing psychologists this intensively towards the end of last year. Before that I had spent 25 years seeing psychiatrists alone. So I guess there may be an aspect of it where I am just not used to the different approaches psychologists take.
Personally I find it really helpful when others respond to my posts with their own experiences rather than speak 'objectively' about things so it doesn't bother me at all when you use the word 'I'.
Kind thoughts back to you and thanks again!
@Silenus, appreciate your vote of confidence in my instincts. I agree we can analyse things too far. I may be doing this now. Mostly it just feels like getting a few things off my chest and headspace to clear some room for better things. As you said, writing as therapy in action. Thanks to you too for responding with shared experience and happy vibes.
The song I've been practicing on the uke in between posts is 'Don't Worry, Be Happy'. Combined with your kind replies, the song is helping me get the message.
31-05-2016 03:59 PM
It is good to be kind to yourself, yes?
Ahhhh... Bobby McFerrin... Don't worry... be happy...
Sometimes, a bit of Seinfeld's Serenity Now helps too... giggle...
31-05-2016 04:24 PM
@Silenus, hahaha, I remember 'serenity now' very well.
In other news, those giving me hugs will be happy to know I'm now showered!
31-05-2016 04:38 PM
Woohooo!!! Nice work, @Mazarita...
Is that Chloe Narcisse that I smell?
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