My Story: After Outpatient Treatment Part 5

This is a continuation, part 5, of my daily journal of life after outpatient treatment for depression, anxiety and avoidant personality disorder. Please click for Week 1Week 2Week 3 and Week 4.

Part 5, Day 1:

I’m starting to get really frustrated with this apartment search. I think being on medication has helped because I’m not as low as I could be, but I’m still not feeling very good. Half of the landlords won’t answer their phones or call me back and the other half don’t accept animals. I know I could submit my application for my ESA, but I really don’t want to have to fight my landlord for my rights as a tenant. This whole thing situation is a giant headache. Lately, all I want to do is sleep so I don’t have to face the problems that are in my life right now.

Day 3:

I found an apartment today. It happened totally out of the blue. I got a message from someone on facebook, I went and looked at it with my bf and ended up accepting it an hour later! My bf, the eternal optimist, is really excited about helping me move and I’m surprised he has refrained from saying “I told you so”. He was very optimistic that I would find a place before I had to move. I guess he was right. They even accept pets with an extra deposit. I’m actually starting to get excited. Initially I was just worried and nervous, but now, I’m honestly excited about starting over in a new apartment. Hopefully this is the next step toward happiness for me.

[Update 6/27] We actually talked about his lack of saying “I told you so”. He was amused that I had written about it in my journal entry.

Day 17:

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a journal entry. I’ve been very busy with packing, moving and cleaning. Now starts the unpacking portion of my move. I’m a little overwhelmed by all of the things I have, but a part of me doesn’t know how to downgrade. I’m a little bit of a packrat so it can take quite a bit for me to get rid of something. I’m actually very proud of myself, I’ve already gotten rid of two giant boxes and a couple pieces of furniture. It’s a good start, and hopefully I can get rid of more as I unpack.

I’ve been feeling better now that I’m back on the medication, unfortunately I haven’t been able to sleep very well lately and that is starting to take it’s toll. I’m a little more irritable and easily upset. It’s frustrating because I know that if I could get more sleep, I’d be feeling a lot better. Hopefully sleep will get better as I unpack and have less stress regarding the move. 

Please stay tuned for Week 6. Here are the links for Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.

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James’ First Post

Hi ADAPT, my name is James. I’ve known Talia for more than four months now, and I have the distinct pleasure to say that I’ve spent most of that time dating her. We met online and she took an interest in me, four months later I still can’t figure out why. After these four months, I’m madly in love with her. That’s the reason why I’m taking the time to write this.

On the night of our first date, the very first time we met face-to-face, Talia informed me that she suffered from depression. At first, I was mildly put-off; a previous girlfriend had also suffered from depression and I had seen what a challenge it was to live with. But something inside me wouldn’t let Talia’s depression scare me away, I was too enamored with her for that. Instead I asked her if there was anything I could do to help her. She looked me in the eyes and said “that’s the best possible thing you could have said to me.”

At first, it didn’t seem like her depression was very severe, it hardly seemed to affect her at all. However, as our mutual trust grew and our romance developed it became much more clear. By the time she told me that she loved me, I had seen much more of Talia’s condition. I had seen how every day was a struggle for her. I’d been a shoulder for her to cry on – sometimes she’d cry for no reason, unable to describe her feelings. And none of it phased me or began to scare me away from her. Not one bit.

You see, I love Talia. I love her as much as someone can after four months, maybe even more than I should after such a short time. And I know that beneath the daily struggle, beneath the tears, is a woman who is entirely worthy of love – a woman who deserves someone to stand by her. I pray that I can be that man. I have to talk to Talia in her times of need and self-doubt. I have to remind her that she is an amazing woman who has overcome so much and should be proud of herself. I have to be patient to deal with her, sometimes. But I don’t get frustrated with her, because I remind myself how much harder things are for her.

I will continue to write posts for ADAPT when I am able, and I will continue to love Talia, depression and all. I only hope she will learn to love herself someday too.

How to Deal With Being Mentally Ill Part II

So you’ve just been diagnosed with a mental illness. You’re scared, you don’t know what to do and you don’t know what other people are going to think of you now. You feel like you’ve been labeled and this label only makes you feel worse. Don’t worry, I’m here to help. Here are some things you should know.

I’d like to first describe depression for you. Depression is like your high school bully. Except, unlike that bully who is taking stabs in the dark trying to find what to say to hurt you the most, the depression is in our mind and knows exactly what to say. It pulls out everything we don’t like or that we think is not good enough about ourselves and shouts it at us just like that high school bully would. The depression knows exactly which nerve to strike. And while you can walk away from your high school bully, you can’t walk away from your mind and the depression that preys on it.

So you’re probably going to need medication and therapy. This doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, this makes you a better person. You are doing what you need to do to be healthy. Medication will help fix the chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s necessary just like the treatment needed for cancer and you shouldn’t be ashamed to have a little help. This fight is just as important as fighting cancer, or any other sickness.

Your next step would be to find a therapist. Make sure you find someone that you like and whom you feel comfortable talking to. They are there to help you. Don’t be ashamed of asking for a little help. These are trained professionals who deal with mental illness on a daily basis. They want to help you and they want to help you help yourself. Learn what works best for you. Everyone’s struggle is different. You’ll have to learn of your triggers and warning signs and figure out what coping skills work best for you.

Mental illness isn’t easy. It is a disease of the mind. It is something you might have to work against for the rest of your life, but you are not alone. I urge you to seek out groups in your area for people with mental illness. Depression often makes you feel isolated, so hearing of other people’s struggles will remind you that you are not alone.

And I am here for you. If you need to talk, please don’t hesitate to message me. I understand the struggle you’re facing and how much of an upward battle it can seem like. I am facing it myself, every day. Just remember, you are not alone and you can do this. Win your fight!

 

How to Deal With Being Mentally Ill Part I

Being diagnosed with a mental illness can seem overwhelming at first. Here are some simple tips for dealing with your mental illness.

  • Take care of yourself. Eat a healthy diet, be physically active and get plenty of sleep.
  • Get exercise. Physical activity reduces depression symptoms. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or taking up another activity that you enjoy.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleeping well is important for both your physical and mental well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what you can do.
  • Simplify your life. Cut back on obligations when possible, and set reasonable goals for yourself. Give yourself permission to do less when you feel down.
  • Structure your time. Plan your day. You may find it helps to make a list of daily tasks, use sticky notes as reminders or use a planner to stay organized.
  • Stick to your treatment plan. Don’t skip psychotherapy sessions or appointments. Even if you’re feeling well, don’t skip your medications. If you stop, depression symptoms may come back, and you could also experience withdrawal-like symptoms.
  • Learn about depression. Education about your condition can empower you and motivate you to stick to your treatment plan. Encourage your family to learn about depression to help them understand and be more supportive of you.
  • Learn ways to relax and manage your stress. Examples include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and tai chi.
  • Pay attention to warning signs and learn your triggers. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your depression symptoms. Make a plan so you know what to do if your symptoms get worse. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in symptoms or how you feel. Ask family members or friends to help watch for warning signs.
  • Write in a journal. Journaling may improve mood by allowing you to express pain, anger, fear or other emotions.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. It may seem like alcohol or drugs lessen depression symptoms, but in the long run they generally worsen symptoms and make depression harder to treat. Talk with your doctor or therapist if you need help with alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Locate helpful organizations. Many organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), offer education, support groups, counseling and other resources to help with depression.
  • Don’t become isolated. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly.
  • Don’t make important decisions when you’re down. Avoid decision-making when you’re feeling depressed, since you may not be thinking clearly.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/treatment/con-20032977

My Story: After Outpatient Treatment Part 4

Week 4, Day 1

I’ve been feeling really down lately. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m off of the medication or if there is something else that is bothering me lately. I can definitely say that lack of sleep is not helping the situation. But I wanted to write today to share some good news!!

I gave my second speech today, again at another local church and it went very well. I had an even higher turnout than I did for my first speech and I got a lot of good questions from my audience. I’ve been considering starting a ‘group therapy’ class where it’s one part moral support and one part teaching about coping skills. I brought this idea up to a couple of people from my audience after the talk and they were highly interested. The pastor even suggested that I keep their church in mind for a location if I need one.

I’m getting such a good response from people about mental illnesses and mental health awareness. It makes me very excited for the future of my nonprofit and the future of our world. The stigmas will always exist, but if I can lessen people’s beliefs in them and teach people that mental illness is nothing to be afraid of, maybe I can help make this world a better place!!

Day 3

I’m definitely going to be talking to my therapist and my doctor about possibly going back on medication. Something was obviously working because I’ve been down ever since I went off of my medications. I don’t like feeling this way and nothing that I’m doing mentally seems to be working. I hate the idea that I need to rely on medication to feel better, but I guess it’s better than feeling the way I have been feeling lately.

I guess we just need to figure out if I can take one of the medications or if it was the combination that was working for me. This can be so frustrating but if I can find out which one works, I’ll hopefully feel better.

Day 6

Well, I’m back on medication and it’s a good thing because I just found out that my landlords are refusing to renew my lease. I have 30 days to find a new apartment and move. I’m already starting to freak out. This means finding a new apartment and moving all in less than a month. I’m hoping I can find an apartment that accepts pets, that way I don’t have to fight my landlord regarding my emotional support animal or ESA. I have a feeling this is why I’m not getting my lease renewed, because my current landlords don’t want an animal in the building. They’re using some other excuse however, because it would be illegal for them to deny my request….

Hopefully finding a new apartment won’t be too much of a struggle.

Absence

It has been two years, almost to the day, since my last post. I would like to first apologize to those who follow my blog, for my absence. It became difficult to continue writing after my friend and collaborator decided that he no longer wished to be my friend. As the grief eventually faded, life got in the way and this blog fell by the wayside.

I recently realized that I missed writing about mental disorders, and my experiences and how helpful and therapeutic it was for me to write this blog. While many things have changed for me, I still struggle with my depression everyday.

Many of the posts that I had finished writing before my absence take place within the same time frame of my original posts, however I believe it is important that they be read. I will then be sharing an update of the two years in-between.

I’m excited to be restarting this journey and I hope it will be informative and helpful for anyone who reads it. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. I welcome the chance to help others understand mental disorders.