Wednesday, August 24, 2011

You might notice that there is not title for this post, that's because I really don't know what to call it.
What I want to talk about today is what to do when we are unhappy with a situation. Lets start with asking ourselves what our first reaction would be. I was faced with a situation that made me very uncomfortable, a bit jealous (well maybe more than a bit) and mad all at the same time. So I got upset and voiced my opinion way more than I should have. I think that's basically what most people do when faced with these type of feelings. And I don't know about you but I voice my opinion loudly and nasty, which is never constructive.
Fast forward 2 days after the incident and 1 therapist visit later and I came up with a solution to my problem. I'm not going to go into the specifics, that is not the reason for this post. The reason I am sharing this is that coming up with a solution that was a compromise is the best way to handle many situations where feelings might have been hurt.
Think of it this way...
When we get hurt or upset we have several options; Cry, yell at someone, cry some more, give the cold shoulder, cry even more...well you get the general idea. And none of these outcomes leaves anyone feeling happy, which you know is my goal in life.
Then my wonderful therapist asked me what I think I could do fix the situation? (Why didn't I think of that?) So I worked out a compromise to 'my' problem. And I presented it in a non emotional way. So the moral of the story is that even though we may feel like crying, yelling, slamming doors, generally having a pity party, the better move is to ask how to fix it. After all what good does having a pity party do? Does it make us feel better? No. Does it make us more in control? No. So what does it do? It reinforces our negative feelings, which in my book is a big no no.

My challenge to you: next time you feel someone has hurt you try to think of a way to fix it instead of feeling sorry for yourself. It really turned my frown upside down.

Till next time,
Sha :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How I have been feeling

As you might know we lost my mother-in-law. This was terribly hard to deal with, paired with my mental illness, it just made it worse. I was able to get thru the month we were in NY before she passed and the funeral with little incident, but once i got home things changed. I have been pretty stable for the past 2.5 years, honestly if you met me you would never know that I suffer from depression or anxiety. I like to think of myself as in remission.

These past 2 weeks have been especially hard. I am tired all the time and take a fairly long nap almost every day. I also do not really want to do anything. Yes it is hot here, but its not even the heat, I just don't want to do anything. Then I went to a guild meeting and was very uncomfortable there and for no apparent reason. Do you ever feel this way?

Being me and having gone thru what I have gone thru with mental illness I know the signs of depression and anxiety and so do my husband and kids. Yes it does seem that the depression and anxiety are creeping back into my life. So I started thinking of ways to handle this without starting a new medicine or changing any of it. Historically I have to be hospitalized to change my medicine cocktail and I am just not willing to go there. I want to handle this better than in the past.

Here's what I have been doing to help:
1. When I am tired I still allow myself to sleep, but as soon as I wake up I get out of bed. Yesterday I slept 4 hours and felt so much better when I got up, Hubs even commented on it. Sometimes my body just needs the rest. But I do not stay in bed. I make bed for sleeping only.
2. Make sure I take my meds at the right time everyday. This sounds like a given, but I know that its very easy for me to just not take the meds.
3. Make myself clean the kitchen. Even though I might not feel like it, I make myself do it. I am home during the day so at a minimum I need to make sure the kitchen is cleaned. When I put a dish in the sink I have to tell myself that it only take 20 seconds to put that dish in the dishwasher. It sounds corny, but doing even a small thing helps me feel better. And really how long does it take to fill and empty the dishwasher? I can live thru 10 - 15 minutes a day of cleaning.
4. Cook dinner. You know I love to cook, but when depression creeps up on me that's the first thing that goes. By the end of the day I am too tired to even think about what to make. My strategy is to make a plan in the morning for dinner. For me not having to make a decision late in the day is good. Plus I can't expect my Husband to work all day and then come home and deal with dinner too. He did that for years when I was undiagnosed and I don't ever want to take advantage of him in that way again. If that means that I have to run to the grocery store for a few things then that's what I do. There's a grocery store right around the corner that I can get to and get home within 30 minutes. I can spare 30 minutes to make my husbands day easier.
5. Once the things that I have to do are done I try to do something that is fun. Usually this is sewing or quilting. Some days I only sew a few seams and others I sew for hours. I have realized that it is good for my soul to sew. Or I will watch some TV. Not in bed though, that is only for sleeping.
6. Try not to over react. When I came home from the meeting on Monday I was very upset. I didn't feel too comfortable and felt that I was being dismissed and was rude to. It took me a while to understand that I was having social anxiety and that it was 'all in my head'. 

Since I am very educated about my illness I know the signs of depression and anxiety and am doing what I can to combat it. I encourage you to learn the signs and symptoms. Education is empowering yourself to take control of your illness.

I have spoken to and emailed with quite a few people lately that just don't want to get up or do anything. I encourage you to MAKE yourself do something. Even the smallest thing will make you feel better. If you need support email me and I will be your biggest cheerleader. (I will also suggest that you see a doctor.) I know its hard, believe me I would love to stay in bed all day, but I MAKE myself do things. I stop myself from making excuses. For too long I didn't drive because that's where my anxiety was, but once I started driving down the road I realized that I can do it and that it was just easier to wait for someone else to take care of all these things.

I hope you can take what I have talked about and will give Making yourself do things a try.


PS I am not writing to anyone specific, although there are quite a few followers/friends who are struggling with the same things I am. I just hope that sharing this will encourage others.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You mood is sometimes your choice.

I was just tweeting with some of my quilting friends. We were talking about fake phone calls from people pretending to be the police, firemen or even cancer groups asking for money. Here's what happened to me last week all within a few hours...

I got 3 different phone calls from the same number (but from different people) asking me for a donation for 3 different organizations. On most days by the 3rd phone call I would have been so annoyed and would have been very nasty to the caller. This would only result in my mood changing and not in a good way. After all, do any of us really feel better after we have been nasty to someone? I don't. My heart rate goes up and my heart feels angry (I don't know how to describe it). I get stressed...tense in my shoulders and sometimes I get a headache. And if I am with someone I get even more annoyed when they tell me to 'calm down" (calm is one of my four letter words). Plus I know that I am not ruining the callers day. They are used to the verbal abuse and might even laugh at how many people they can upset. So this time I decided to laugh at them...right to their face and guess what? They had no comeback for that. After a few awkward seconds he just said he was sorry and hung up. So I ask you whose mood was worse after that? It wasn't mine, I got a laugh out of it, and I have to hope that he felt a tiny bit bad for what he was doing or at least stupid.

The reason I am sharing this story is to show you that I had a choice of how I would react to a situation and that by choosing to not allow myself to get upset my mood was not changed in a negative way.

Next time you are starting to feel annoyed at someone try this. You don't have to be as extreme as me and actually laugh at them, but if you pick and choose your arguments then your mood will be less affected. This is especially true with our spouse and children. I remember picking at things they did and at one point I realized that all this negative attention wasn't working. If they can't get positive attention they will do what they need to  to get negative attention, all they want is attention so they get it anyway they can. By picking and choosing my 'fights' I was in a better mood and so were my kids. It took me a long time to figure it out, but I promise it works. Even with my grown children and husband I go by this. Instead of complaining about how he folds the towels, I am just grateful for what he does. This definitely makes me happier, which is better than begin annoyed.

I hope this helps next time you find yourself getting annoyed at little things.

Sha :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm not even sure what to call this post, but I feel ready to start back again. This past month has been hard, I have never had to deal with losing a parent and it has been difficult to deal with at times. But I feel that if I keep up with this blog it will help me as well as you so, I am back :). Instead of sharing a tidbit on getting well I am going to talk about my day yesterday and what I did to work thru it.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. Hubs was gone all last week and it was the first time in many years that I was all alone in the house. With him gone I didn't sleep well, not because I was scared of being alone in the house, but because I was staying up way too late to get a restful night, which leads me to 

lesson #1...Getting sleep is of utmost importance. Staying up late made me too tired the next day. Being tired made me cranky, which then made me not be able to sleep the next night...see the cycle?

With not sleeping I began to get tired during the day and the last few days I took naps, pretty lengthy ones. Everyday I wanted to stay in bed longer and longer. I didn't want to do much quilting, or any cooking at all, two of my most favorite things in the world to do. Over the weekend I got away with not cooking, but I knew if I didn't make the meatballs that I had gotten ingredients for, the ground beef and sub rolls would probably not be good the next day. I knew that would make me feel even worse and would let Hubs down since he really wanted meatball subs, so I forced myself to get up after my nap. I had to talk myself into getting up by saying to myself "how hard would it be to spend 30 minutes cooking?" or "It's not fair to Hubs to make him get takeout after he worked all those hours" and stuff like that. It was hard to do, but I knew that I would feel better when I did get up. I planned on a time that I had to start and believe me I stayed in bed till that exact minute. And when I was done cooking (it only took like 30 minutes to do), I wasn't anymore tired than I was before, I had survived! As a matter of fact I felt better that I did something.

lesson #2...Make yourself do something everyday. You can do it, I promise you will survive! You might feel anxious and scared, but you will feel better even taking the smallest step. If you don't feel comfortable driving then just go outside for a few minutes, maybe walk around the back yard. Start small, 15 minutes at a time and add on to that. When I first started getting out again I would go to Sonic or Starbucks and get a drink. It took no more than 15 minutes, but did make me feel better about myself. I felt human again and it felt good!

And after dinner, guess what I did without even thinking? I clean the kitchen! Yes I know that sounds like a given, but in my house the chef doesn't always have to clean. But without even thinking I took care of it all...another step in the right direction!

lesson #3...Doing 1 good thing can turn into another and then another and soon there will be an avalanche of good things happening!

So there you go, that was my day yesterday. Today has been a bit easier, but I am fighting the urge to take a nap right now. I think I will take one, I don't have to cook today (leftovers tonight) but I would like to get some more quilting done before Hubs comes home, so it will (hopefully) be a short one.

I hope this has helped you, we can all do this and stay and be healthy and enjoy life to the fullest!

Sha :)