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Ripple Effects of Depression

I have a big personality. Anyone who has ever met me in person and maybe even some people who have only met me online will tell you that. When I’m joyful and happy, it’s infectious. When I’m down, it’s like a raincloud covers everyone around me. Depression blocked any recognition I may have of this. Now that I’m coming through the other side of the tunnel, I can see how depression affected people around me.

For months now Mr. Lyndsy has seemed down and upset. I know he’s been having a stressful time at work. He essentially has been doing two jobs for the price of one. I assumed it was that and let it go.

However, over the last week or so as I’ve really started to feel better, he’s seemed lighter and happier too. It was only yesterday that I acknowledged there could be a connection between how I was and how he is. Obviously people who live together affect each other, but from my opinion, this seems to have gone beyond that. I know he hates to see me in pain. All he wants is for me to be healthy and happy. So if I’m not, it bothers him.

It was just so much worse than I thought it was. His light is shining brighter. He’s less irritable, more ready to laugh, and generally easier to be around.

It’s not like I could have known in advance that this would have affected him so differently and I don’t blame myself for his moods. For me this is incentive to stick with my meds. His happiness and wellbeing are of paramount concern for me. Now that I know how deeply affected he is by my emotional state, I want to make sure I do everything I can to keep our lives as happy as possible.

Clearly I want it for myself individually. But I chose him. I chose to be a part of his life and accepted that things I do can affect him too. I have a responsibility via my vows to him to make sure I’m the best partner I can be. He deserves that much from me. I know he feels the same way and has that same sense of obligation to me.

I’m keeping a journal about all of this so in case I forget I can go back and remind myself. Constant vigilance is my friend. If you see me and think something is off, please tell me. I appreciate that you’re looking out for me and won’t take any offense.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

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Should have done it sooner. Get the help you need.

About a month or so ago, I started seeing a shrink. The increasing and widespread pain I was feeling pushed me to an edge I didn’t like. I simply couldn’t deal with anything anymore. I couldn’t see wanting to live if I was always going to be in so much pain and there wasn’t going to be an end.

The shrink told me to stop thinking in such long and broad terms and do what I can to get me feeling better. Find the pain meds I need. Sleep. Journal. And she gave me a prescription for Cymbalta and another antidepressant to help me sleep. That sleep one has been changed to something new and I think it’s better. I’m waking up early and I feel like it’s too early, but that’s probably just been more because of what I’ve been used to. I’ve found I feel more awake during the day if I get up instead of rolling over for a few more hours.  I do need to try to get myself to bed earlier though.

What’s been the biggest thing though is how much better I feel emotionally. I care about things again. I don’t want to just sit at home and read. I’m interacting again. I’m taking better care of myself. I hit a point where I said if I felt this bad I would do whatever it took to make me feel better. Now I’m finally living that. I’ve completely changed my diet. I take a million meds, but I’m committed to them. I’m following through with doctors.

It’s a million miles from how I felt a month ago. I’m enjoying things. I realized the other day that I want to live.

My endocrinologist said that depression is a chemical imbalance and we shouldn’t hesitate to treat it like we would treat hypertension, diabetes, or anything else that might be wrong with us. I didn’t really need to hear him say it since I’d already gotten there, but it’s nice to have a doctor who understands.

If you are depressed, don’t wait as long as I did. I have had serious problems since 2008, but I believed I could handle it all myself. I figured if I knew what was up and found a way to deal with it myself that I would be okay. But it wasn’t okay. I had periods where I was okay, but there was always this darkness that seemed like it was waiting for me.

I’m not under any delusions that everything is okay now. I know that I need the meds to help me. I still do exercises to focus on being in the now and not getting stuck in cycles of anxiety. I have to be vigilant about my health.

But, please, please, please get help if you need it. If you need to talk, reach out. I’ll listen. If you even just think you may need it, seek it out. I know how hard it is to make that step and reach out. But once you do it, things will get better. Maybe not right away but over time. YOU are worth that investment.

Thank you to everyone who’s cared and been there to support me over the years. It’s appreciated more than I could ever express in words on this page or anywhere else.

Is winter over yet?

The short answer: No.

I’ve been in hibernation virtually and in real life for a while now. Got off Facebook for the most part, stalking Instagram but not posting much, skipping out on local events. The thing is, I’m tired. #spoonielife is hard. A lot of my time recently has been taken up by doctor visits. Since early March, I’ve seen a rheumatologist, gastroenterologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist, psychiatrist, and orthopedic surgeon. I’ve had vials of blood drawn for 40 different labs, 2 24-hour urine collection samples, a regular urine sample, and a fucking stool sample. I am determined to figure out what the hell is wrong with me – my stomach, why I’m so fatigued, the pain in my back and foot.

There’s been some progress and some stagnation.

Progress
The rheumatologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I’d suspected that for a while, but knowing that I’m not fucking crazy for thinking it is particularly delightful. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t give me any meds for it due to some kidney issues.

That turned out not to matter because I went to see a shrink to deal with the continued despairing thoughts I was happening. Those led to anxiety. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I just wanted to cry all the time. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. The depression was killing me. The shrink is nice and is definitely invested in helping me feel better. She put me on Cymbalta, which will deal with the mood stuff, but is also used to help he chronic widespread body pain associated with fibromyalgia. There aren’t words that would accurately convey how happy I am that the fucking pain is mostly gone. It was making me insane. She also gave me something to help me sleep better.

I found a new endocrinologist because the last one was a raging fuckhead. The new one listens to me. He was willing to put me on thyroid medication to see if it would help with the fatigue (since I’m doing everything else I can to try to treat it). He didn’t think it would, but I feel differently. At least he was willing to try. He’s got me on a new diabetes medication which he said might help with weight loss. I’ve been doing some on my own anyway since my diet has changed, but I’ll take the help I can get.

My stomach issues have pretty much been resolved! I’m no longer running through stores and malls, praying I don’t shit my pants! The pain in my upper right quadrant is gone! The price I’m paying for it though is a restricted diet. I suppose I can start adding things back in to see what’s bothering me, but it’s almost not worth it. I don’t really miss the foods I’m no longer eating (apples, pears, soda, legumes, gluten). Sometimes I indulge, but it’s usually a pretty minimal indulgence. I bought a candy bar since I was feeling deprived, and I just didn’t enjoy it. I’ve definitely hit the point that if it’s going to make me feel like shit, I don’t bother. (Damn you, ice cream!)

Stagnation
My back still hurts. I had a spine doc look at my back MRI but he didn’t see anything in it that would be the reason for my pain. That frustrated the hell out of me, but he said that he thinks it could be the sacroiliac joint. Great. Something new. He referred me for physical therapy, but it takes a while to get in, so I’m going to wait until Mr. Lyndsy and I are back from our summer away. Hopefully that works. If it does, he said we could talk about steroid shots or a possible fusion. After my experience with the lumbar fusion, I’m not keen on fusing anything else, but we’ll see.

I have had continued foot pain as well. That’s frustration since I am traveling with my mother to London and Paris in June and I know we’ll be walking a lot. My foot despises walking, which blows since that’s pretty much its reason for existing in my life. I had an MRI done of my foot. It was ridiculous uncomfortable since I can’t really point my foot and my knee was rammed into the top of the machine. It also didn’t tell us much except that I have inflammation at the base of my second toe. Great. Fucking great. The ortho thinks that it’s probably referred pain from my back (which other doctors have ruled out after looking at my back MRI), but he’s going to do a steroid/pain relief injection at the base of the second toe once it’s been approved by the insurance. I hope to God that fucking helps because otherwise I will cry.

My Achilles tendon is still giving me problems as well. The shockwave treatments don’t seem to be helping. I think the last one made it worse. I have one more scheduled and unless they think more will make a huge difference, I think I’m going to quit doing them and find a way to just live with that pain.

All of this is to say that I’m not dead. I’m just trying to take some time to take care of myself, s my hibernation will continue a little while longer. I’ll be leaving my job at the end of this month so that my health is all I’m focusing on. I’m going to use our 2-month trip to the US this summer to relax, get in a good head space, and try to help my body as much as I can. When I get back I’ll figure out what to do about making money to pay my stupid fucking student loans. I hope by then I’m feeling a lot better.

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30-Day Project: March failure/April potential

30-day Project

March was almost a complete failure. I tried to be conscious of what I was eating and how it made me feel, but I didn’t really write it down. Ever. If the point was to be more aware, then yay! If it was to actually write shit down, not so much. But, can’t dwell on failure forever!

April will complete one year of these 30-day Projects. I was thinking I’d go out with something big, but I’m more realistic than that. April is also CampNaNoWriMo, and I will be participating this year again and using it for the 30-day Project.

What I like about CampNaNo is that I get to set the amount I want to write, unlike NaNoWriMo, which is 50,000 words to “win.” I’ve set a nice low number of 10,000 words for this April. I *should* be able to do that. I won’t be giving myself daily goals, but rather that over the course of April, I hit that 10,000 words.

The decision to write to publish instead of just for fun ended up paralyzing me. I felt like if I couldn’t get out a perfect draft the first time around then I was a crappy writer and I shouldn’t even bother. I don’t know if it’s perfectionism or impostor syndrome or WHAT that makes me have those kinds of crazy thoughts. They’re unhealthy though.

I’m guessing that almost no one has a perfect draft the first time around, even people who plan when they write. For people who just sort of go with whatever comes into their heads (like I do), it would have to be nearly impossible. You have no idea where the story is going to go so you can’t possibly know what you’d be missing, what detail that seemed insignificant is now huge or what seemed so big that became so small.

I’m using April and CampNaNo to change how I think about my writing and just go back to having fun. I can usually get the core story out that way. I can go back and edit/change/add as I need to so that the story becomes a fully rounded entity.

Fingers crossed that this gets me away from my self-destructive ways!

Stand in the Light and Let Your Human Power Shine

retro heart

Mr. Lyndsy and I love watching The Voice. I don’t know if it’s the blind audition that sucked me in, but it’s just different than other shows like it. Last season was the first I’d ever seen of it and it brought us Jordan Smith. That man has the voice of an angel. His talent is absolutely insane. We finally got his new album and were jamming the other day on the way to the mall.

“Stand in the Light” came on and I was immediately taken. Goosebumps on my arms and head. The chorus is just so important to me.

This is who I am inside
This is who I am, I’m not going to hide
Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far
To stand in the light and be seen as we are
So stand in the light and be seen as we are

My first response was sadness. I’m so fortunate in my life that I get to be who I am and people love and support me for it. I’ve got tattoos, piercings, sickness I can’t control which occasionally includes a total crying breakdown. My raunchy sense of humor and vulgar mouth have found homes with many friends. I have outlets for my creative goals and willing victims when I want to try something new spiritually.

The idea that there are people who feel like they can’t be themselves makes me incredibly sad. We should all get to be who we are. We’re all uniquely built and that uniqueness is needed by the Universe. That’s a beautiful thing.

The other thing that occurred to me is how incredibly talented I am not when it comes to singing. I always expect that dogs and cats will howl along when I sing. It hasn’t happened yet, but I feel like it’s just a matter of time. Jordan Smith’s talent is unquestionable and nothing short of amazing.

I believe we all have an amazing talent. When it’s not something easily recognized because of what society prizes, I think we lose sight of it. That leaves us feeling depressed and like we don’t have value. That’s simply not true.

Great capacity for kindness is a talent. Having scores of empathy. Being great at math and science. All of these things matter and we need all of it.

So if you feel like you don’t have something, know you do. It may require a step back and away from the norms we’ve come to accept, but it’s there. I promise. If you don’t believe me, reach out. I’ll help you find it.

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Jar of Good Choices

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about how much she was enjoying her daughter’s imaginative play. Her daughter had selected a doctor doll as her prize after filling a container with marbles because she made good choices.

This got me thinking. *I* could use a jar of good choices. I may not be a kid anymore, but being an adult doesn’t mean I make good choices. My high blood sugar readings, stomachaches, and dwindling bank account certainly suggest that I often make poor choices.

So I decided to make myself a Jar of Good Choices. The added bonus was that I finally used the Silhouette Portrait my mom got me for Christmas… in 2014.

Jar of Good Choices

For me, good choices will revolve around things like choosing to cook instead of ordering fast food for delivery (it’s the worst thing ever that I can do that here), selecting water to drink instead of soda, delaying buying things that I don’t really need but just want to make sure I do actually want them, going for walks, etc.

I need to find marbles or something I can put in the jar and determine what my reward plan will be. I know that there’s a video game I want that’s kind of expensive (LEGO Dimensions), books that I don’t want to buy but want to read, more Jamberry wraps.

I’m not sure whether I should feel ridiculous about doing this, but whatever. I think the assumptions about what adults should be like are ridiculous. The fact that most video game systems are built around achievements or trophies tells us that adults still like to get rewards for shit they do. This isn’t that different.

I now have my jar. Now to find the first marble to put in. You know, for making the jar in the first place…