Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019 - Focus on My Mental Health pt. 5

     Been awhile since I posted in here, but I guess that might be a semi-good thing if I've been too busy to brood?  Maybe so, or maybe it's because I've been in a weird place this last week or so.  About a week ago my hubby headed out for the weekend with the express orders to 'go out, and have fun' while he was gone.  Of course I could have gone with him, but I decided that maybe I just needed to try to get out on my own and do something I hadn't in quite a long time.  My last attempt at 'go out and have fun' was back in the late fall when I headed to the Lynd Fruit farm to pick up my apples and cider to last me through the winter months, but on the way back my car tires decided to throw up warning about low tire pressure, so it cut my trip short.  I was stressed out from trying to find a place to go to refill the tires for the rest of the day, and for the next week I stayed stressed out until I finally bought a portable air compressor.
     So, after packing away that air compressor, I made an identical trip out to get some apples and cider and jams and it was quite busy for being about five days before the start of spring.  The people there said, "see you in July!" and everyone there (including myself) said, "Yup!"  Because that'll be the start of peach season and hopefully the cold winters didn't kill off too many of the trees.  I did notice as I drove away that a stand of some 20-30 trees were pulled up at the roots, dead.  I'm not entirely sure what type of apples, and whether they'd died or were pulled to make a bigger parking lot, but it was an image that will stick with me.
     The rest of the morning was spent trying to find a craft mall I'd kept seeing online and when I finally got there it seemed to have a lot of potential...but was very disappointing (and I'd realize was the slowest of all of the places I went that day) so I crossed it off my list for future trips.  I went to another antique store and then headed out to Clifton Mill to see the place during the spring instead of Christmas time.  Took a good hour drive, but I had forgotten that I enjoy driving on my own as long as it's not going somewhere I've been before.
     And it was a peaceful sort of day driving and hitting the places and I'm looking forward to seeing the mill during the summer when there are trees and no Christmas lights (although I have a feeling they stay in the trees, but at least seeing the cliffs would be pretty without).  But there were hints of what it would be like when it's not swarming with people.
     The rest of the day was spent hopping between antique stores out west and every single place was more full then I'd ever seen them.  But it was fun and I was exhausted by the end of the day, but in a good way.

     The only downfall that day was getting ridiculously angry over not getting dinner by myself until after I'd been home for awhile because I thought my husband was getting home on time to have dinner but had meant he was leaving by dinnertime and wouldn't be there until nearly 8pm.  So I'd gotten angry but it was probably hunger more than anything, I think.

     But I haven't been taking the depression medication.  I really wanted to see what would change between taking it and not.  So I started around then and at first there was the burst of anger, but overall I didn't notice any large changes because I made myself get going and got myself off the sofa.  And I've worked on projects around the house now since then - pulled out the carpets in the closets of my bedroom and redid the flooring.  Then since then I've also changed out the guest bathroom floors too.  Doing something with my hands really makes me happier than anything else.  I get my butt away from the television and get doing other things.
     So I haven't taken any of the pills and I've gotten a bit more sunshine which may or may not be helping - I am trying to get my mindset right again.  So I've also been walking around the yard lately as well, making plans about what I want to do with the yard in the upcoming months.

     Let's get up to speed though.  Today was yard work day.  I got the trash picked up, pansies planted in pots and the little wagon.  Then cleaned the leaves from the curb and had a family pull over and say to me, "it's really nice seeing someone do that, no one does that around here."  And I'm thinking to myself, yeah, but not everyone has as many leaf and water issues as I do... but I thanked them and we talked about the fact that it was nice out.  But I was slightly shaky by the end and I'm not sure if it was because I was startled or pleased.
     It did make me feel a bit curious about whether or not the pills have been helping more with the anxiety.  I thought both days on the way to work this week for closing shifts that I haven't had any anxiety going into work.  I'm hoping it wasn't because of the pills, but I'll find out for sure after the next birth control rotation because that's what I really thought was affecting me.  So, we'll see.  Got another week or so.
     I have realized that I've been kind of annoyed because my husband isn't very active.  I kept hinting that I wanted to go for a drive today.  Convinced him to go to breakfast and then we went to get groceries and then we went home and he plopped down in front of the TV and didn't move.  I finally just had to get up because I couldn't stand it anymore, and I really should have just gotten up and left the house...but we did go get flowers so I did the yardwork thing which needed it anyway.
     Later this week, however, I'm going to try getting out and making that drive.  It doesn't make me happy to just sit around doing nothing all the time.  I think I need to accomplish things with my hands to make me happy.  I do realize for the last month I've been working on orders at work for framing which I used to do regularly and part of me realizes that's a big thing for me to keep me happy.  So... I've been considering looking into trying to find another job that will help me keep my hands busy.

     Here's the thing, though.  I WANT to get a new job.  I'd really like to be able to move on to something that I could go in, make some things, then go home again.  But, my job gives me good benefits and I've been there forever and I'm not entirely sure how I could move on until I knew that my husband's job was secure enough to take care of us for awhile until I worked my way up again.  His work is so unstable, but it's been that way forever and I kept thinking I should just 'wait' and yet I've been waiting all of these years now and it hasn't changed things.  So, what am I waiting for?  Now I feel like I've waited too long and it's so hard to move on.

     Well, ultimately I'm okay right now.  About a week without the anti-depressants.  I've had a few sad days and would really like to move.  I think though it's more the television and the Facebook and I really need to get away from both of those things again, and that's what I'm going to work on this upcoming week.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

2019 - Focus on My Mental Health pt. 4

    Part four!  Today I will discuss a few weird things that happened to me last night.  Besides having trouble staying asleep (falling asleep, not so bad, but the bladder woke me up about three times.)  But besides that I woke the second or so time after a very disturbing/frightening dream:

    I think I was headed home, and had almost made it inside when I heard the sound of a familiar bird.  I turned to look up into a very high tree (perhaps 200 feet or more), I was standing under an awning, which our house doesn't have, it extended out over a drive (sort of like a hotel drop off).  Up on top of this tree was the bird - and I recalled thinking that it was a Macaw as the sound was familiar.  So I called to it, hoping that perhaps it would fly down to me, and surprisingly it did.  It was bedraggled, feathers ragged, as it landed on my shoulder awkwardly.  It lost its balance and I cradled it in my arms thinking I needed to get it inside, get it some water, and then search up some food.  And of course I started thinking about what I really had inside my own house, like fruit, which I thought might do it some good.
     I went inside the house, there was a step up to get into a kitchen, but the kitchen was laid out opposite (more like my Mom's house).  It was super bright, a huge window to my right and the sink underneath.  I caught a glimpse of Tenchi (my cat, as seen below:)

Of course, in this dream he was facing away from me and much fatter then he was in this picture (he was a lot younger here and probably 5 pounds lighter, so imagine his stripey back but very round).  He was pawing the ground with his left front foot, and I was a bit nervous about the macaw, but was also curious about what he was doing.

As I walked past him to his left side, I came around to see what he was doing.  At first I thought that he was doing his 'horny dance' as I call it since he does that to blankets a lot.  In the next second, I realized that he was rather pawing at the ground, at something laying there slightly to his right.  A split second later, I realized that object was a severed paw.  Just a paw.  And a second later, he looked up at me and I could see his front right leg was severed.  He seemed to ask, "why isn't it moving when I move my leg?"

     In the moments, maybe milliseconds, of waking, I had a 'memory' of Aria having had her leg squeezed to the point of being drawn out (like dough when you pull it apart), and wondering how in the world they had both had their legs destroyed when there was no one in the house, or any circumstance that would do that damage.
     It was very disturbing, and after I went to the bathroom I lay in bed trying desperately not to think about it.
     Needless to say, I had to go downstairs to check and make sure that Tenchi's paws were all safely on his own legs.  They were, I'm happy to report, but it was still the strangest dream I've had in a long time.

     I forgot about most of it while I was at work today.  I got to hide out doing my old job today (since one of my co-workers are out healing from carpal tunnel surgery) which was pretty darn peaceful overall.
     I didn't get to play D&D today though, which is a bit sad, but it was also relaxing not to have to rush anywhere after work.  And then after work I did finally spray paint that vent (speaking of which, I need to get it finished and back upstairs).  And then I made my first attempt at a Texas Sheet Cake the first time in like a decade.  Hopefully it will taste good.  It at least looked normal when I finished it.  So, I guess we'll try!

So that completes my 4th entry.  I have a day off tomorrow so hopefully I'll be able to continue more things that make me happy!

Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 - Focus on My Mental Health pt. 3

     Don't really have much to relate today, but figured since I'd realized I just didn't have a way to express my feelings anywhere else that I'd write out a brief synapsis of what went on today.  Typically when I'm sent away to work at another store in the area I come right home afterward, but this time I decided that I would definitely use the long drive to my advantage and do some shopping afterward.
     But first, getting up at 4:30 AM, driving across town, not quite the furthest store in the area but they're all between 20-30 minute drives away from my house.  Drive was okay and I saw someone I hadn't gotten to talk to in awhile so that was pleasant, then I did my work and had to coax both of the store managers there to let me go when my time was up for the day because, quite frankly, I'd gotten there on time and my own manager did not, so let them stay the extra 45 minutes or more to make up for it.  I was exhausted but also decided I needed to do the shopping trip I'd planned on, even if only for a half hour or so.
     So I actually went shopping, bought a few new shirts and a new sweater and chatted up the cashier for awhile since it was slow and she was talkative.  Then headed over to another store to get a few more things and had another conversation there with an employee, so it made it an overall pleasant experience for me.  Then I did a little bit of catching Pok√©mon since you honestly can't NOT play Pokemon Go where I was.
     Then I turned on the newest Jason Mraz CD that I own (yes, I still like CDs as my stupid media player sucks and doesn't want to read anything off the USB drive...and I've been too lazy to get that fixed.)  And just sang my way home again.
     We went out to eat for dinner and I wandered around the yard when we got home looking at the tiny little stubs of crocuses and tulips peaking out of the ground.  I so want it to be Spring already!  I want to be able to hit up the garden center and buy a tray of pansies to plant out in the garden.  I also want to be able to put down grass seed so we can forget about the ugly brown line from the road to the side of my house.

     Well, I think I'm going to work on painting just one more of the vents now, and watch some more TV, relax or something, take a nice shower and go to bed.  Then maybe I'll be able to deal with my internal screaming about how things went.  I'm really glad to be home again, but also glad I made the trip on my own as I just don't go out on my own enough anymore and I think it builds character when I do.  I just wish I'd been able to get going sooner in order to go to the bookstore too, but that's a whole different challenge.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019 - Focus on My Mental Health pt. 2

     I'm into my new Mental Health awareness plan five days now.  The balance of feeling crappy and feeling excited and happy is still balanced in favor of feeling crappy, but I think the majority of that has to do with work and one particular person.  But, I guess I'll go over a few of the things that have been pretty good for me the last few days.

Thursday - cleared out a few of my old toys and made some donation plans.

Friday - went out for dinner by myself.  Picked up Raisin' Canes, which, even though I regretted it later (stomach reasons) I did feel good getting out of work for a short time and being able to finally allow myself to go out and do something rather than eating my packed lunch.

Saturday - did some shopping, went out to breakfast, shopped at Costco, walked around the mall for a bit, bought some new miniature paint, then came home and put some finishing of figures.  Worked on getting a few more done and then after we went grocery shopping I brought home spray paint to fix the rusting vent covers.  They look awesome.  Suddenly it's like I've been able to wipe out that anxiety I got every time I looked at them thinking about the months (almost a year) of cleaning cat pee up every single day.  Although, on another hand, I found old cat pee on the wall (I'm pretty sure it was old as it didn't smell very strongly) while doing some other cleaning, but just having those vents looking better was like a breath of fresh air for me.

Sunday - finally got the seasonal set done at work that was due TWO WEEKS ago.

For the last few days too I've been doing some online money making, doing meaningless internet tasks.  It's not much really, but I thought maybe it would be something I could do to keep me from mindlessly scrolling Facebook every day which is part of my problem I think.

     I also had a sudden thought this evening.  I used to write emails.  I used to write a LOT of emails.  I think something to do with those emails I used to be able to get out my anxiety and depression on paper and then move on with my life, and hopefully my "pen pal" that I emailed would get back to me and I'd be able to work through all of those issues.  (Unlike when I simply just write in my diary or here.)  I realized that was a HUGE change in my life the last few years.  Just about 2016 things changed and suddenly I didn't have anyone to unload my problems on, or have problems unloaded onto either.  Because sometimes writing back to someone also gives me this amazing feeling of knowing that someone cares about me enough to tell me all of these deep dark secrets.  I don't have anyone like that except perhaps my husband.  I miss it so much.  Sure, I have a few people that we share things in common and talk about very surfacy things.  I don't have someone I can say "my life sucked today, I'd really like to talk about it, and you can tell me about how much yours sucked too."

     So, I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do about that issue.  I write a lot in my daily life, but there must have been something so cathartic about it over the years that my depression just didn't take over my life as it has the last few years.  I know I had depression, but I found ways to get up and keep moving and doing something else.  It's been very difficult to force myself to get up and going.  But THAT is what this Lent is all about - getting up, getting moving, and figuring out exactly what I need to do to beat this thing.

     More updates to come, hopefully!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

2019 Lent - Focus On My Mental Health

     So, here we are starting Lent in 2019 (I'm not Catholic, but I've been doing something for it since the 90's).  In most year's past I have typically focused my attention on my physical health, or on occasions also my spiritual health.  I will admit that I've only focused on my spiritual health a few times, I think one year my goal was to read a chapter of the Bible every day, another was I think to pray for someone each day, that sort of thing.  Most years, however, I usually focus on my physical health which means, typically, to give up something that feels dear to me.  In the past it has ranged from giving up red meat, chocolate, soda, coffee, caffeine, desserts, alcohol, etc.  The last time I gave up soda I pretty much gave it up entirely so I feel pretty good about that since I've only taken a sip or two of a soda on occasions and that sorta just feels like a step in the right direction.
     This year in January I had started talking to my husband about perhaps giving up sweets all together (I did desserts last year but cheated by eating sweet things for breakfast....if it's breakfast, it's not dessert, right?  Sigh.)  Other years we gave up eating out at restaurants and that was a tough one because he had to be all-in on that one to help me (he could eat out at lunch all he wanted but I ate at home.  Our only 'cheat' was having fish at churches for lent, which isn't technically a restaurant!)
     However, as this year has gone by I realized that giving up sweets without actually getting them out of the house all together was going to be very difficult, and my husband had bought a few too many donuts for Fat Tuesday yesterday and thus they had to be eaten up today, ruining the chance to start Lent today on Ash Wednesday.  So, I started trying to think of something else I could do today, or not do today for my focus.  I can't give up soda (I have already), I can't give up alcohol (my depression medication forbids it) and I can't give up chocolate or sweets because guess what I had already this morning?
     In the spirit of avoidance, I helped my mother do her taxes, or rather forced my husband to help her do them, although I really could have done them myself (and maybe I should have?  But he seems to like doing computer type things) and after being mentally exhausted after helping her for hours on end, I figured I needed to do something for ME finally to today.
     That started the gears moving finally and I realized something I've never done when I participate in Lent is that I've never worked on my own MENTAL HEALTH.  Doing things that will make me feel better about myself, things that will make my mind take a bit of ease.  Obviously I've been suffering from burn-out from my job and also in some part my home life because of all of the things that need to be done to keep a house with four cats and a husband clean.  And I can't even begin to expect that my husband will actually clean anything on his own, you know?  Sure, he got motivated around the holidays to straighten up his office so that he could move things downstairs into the basement so he could work down there, but then he rarely works down there.  Now he's taking up TWO spaces and neither of them are very tidy.  He still won't clean the toilets unless I ask him and unless I specifically ask him to wipe under the lid of the toilet (which I never see but he does every day and I certainly don't understand why he doesn't go "eeewww, maybe I should clean that!"  Nope!!)  So our bathroom gets worse and worse every day and it should really be cleaned once a week but because of my depression it might go months before I haul all of the cleaning supplies upstairs and tear it apart.  It takes about an hour to clean up all of the surfaces and try to pair down all of the crap that's taken up residence on the counter which is the main reason why I don't like to clean it in the first place because it takes five minutes to clear it all off, then ten to wipe it all down and shine up the faucets and finally another five minutes to dust everything off and put it all back together again.
     But, the reason I segued into this topic of cleaning the bathroom because that's what I did to get away from the couch and the TV and the cluttered coffee table that slowly disappears beneath the piles of junk that my husband collects on there.  I leave a few things that I know I'm using on a regular basis, but some of his stuff just sits there for months and it could be anything from junk mail to a business card or a bottle cap that he was too lazy to just dump in the trash bin when he opened his bottle right next to it!
     So, cleaning is also semi-zen for me only because it allows me time to think while I'm doing the task of cleaning.  I thought to myself, if I can do something that helps my mental health - decluttering for example - maybe that can be a good way to start off my Lent this year.  A clean room, a decluttered room, a place that everything that's there "gives me joy," maybe that will help me in my quest to better mental health and maybe I can stop taking the stupid pills.
     Today's mental health goal:  Get rid of things in the bathrooms that I really don't need to be storing.

     I tossed all of the little tubes of toothpaste that were expired we had been keeping from the dentist office.  I'm sure that most of them could probably have been used well beyond their expiration date since if they aren't open I doubt there's much in them that could go bad, but well, do I really need 15 of them?  Especially since we get about 4 a year and neither my husband or I use those tubes ourselves since we prefer another brand?  I keep them merely to have for guests in case they forget theirs when they spend the night.  It's actually come in handy a few times.
     I organized the things I did keep like floss, which also comes in handy since one friend of ours won't use the same part of a string of floss for a different tooth - so he typically goes through a strand that's about 5 feet or so every time he flosses.  So, samples for him!
     Then I moved into my own bathroom and cleaned up the medicine cabinet and got rid of expired things in there.  Got rid of some things that were long overdue to be replaced like the old shower curtain that was probably 8 years old (I'd bought a new one well over a year ago and it was sitting under the cabinet the whole time).  Also some rubber ducks I'd bought on a whim that were just collecting dust since I don't take baths.  Changed out some of the artwork and pulled some of the things on the counters and put them underneath because we just don't use some of them all that often for us to need it on top of the counter.  Got rid of a stupid candle I'd gotten last summer from someone that I really hated the look of and the smell of, so why was I keeping the thing around anyway?
     Then I moved into the kitchen and cleaned the window and changed out the curtains from the winter set to the spring/summer ones.  Makes the room more cheery when I can switch out colors and freshen up the place.

     Now I decided the next step might be to document some of this stuff, and maybe that will help me realize that I am getting things down on a consistent basis and I shouldn't always feel like I "get nothing done on my days off" which is part of my depression right there.  

1.  Get Mom's taxes done.
2.  Get the credit card bill paid.
3.  Clean my bathroom.
4.  Clean the guest bathroom.
5.  Change out the kitchen curtains.
6.  Fill the bird feeders.
7.  Clean the kitchen window.
8.  Throw things away that I don't need to be keeping - take it out to the trash so I don't regret it and try to get it back!

     So, there's day one.  Am I feeling better?  A wee bit.  I had wanted to work on dinner, but I wanted to do it on my terms and my husband walked down and started it before I'm ready, so I guess I won't be doing dinner (I hadn't had time yet to clean the kitchen and I feel I really need a clean kitchen to cook properly) so we'll see, maybe I should also take some personal time to do something like read or watch something I'd like to watch or something else like that for my personal health.  We'll see!  I guess I can always come back here and add to my list later.

Wish me luck!