Friday, August 18, 2017

Back on the horse.

Today has been a better day and I'm not wasting much time when it comes to looking forward and making positive changes.

Recommitting to my health means a lot of work in many different realms. Mind, body, and soul-it's all connected and I need to reestablish a healthy balance. So here's some stuff I've recommitted to working on:


1.  Physical health.

I twisted my ankle over a month ago and haven't let it recuperate fully. I've also been experiencing progressive numbness and tingling in my arms, wrist pain, and difficulties grasping or pinching for several weeks now. 

My primary care provider suspected carpal tunnel and then a coach suggested that I look into thoracic outlet syndrome and wouldn't ya know it! Spot on. I saw an occupational therapist yesterday and boy howdy. Talk about some good hurt.

It's gonna take a while to heal up and I have to make long term changes, but I'm so glad to know what's going on and have a good direction to head in.

Healing injuries is one facet of my physical health. Focusing on my workout instead of letting my anxiety hijack my "treatment" time is another vital part of my physical health. Improving my diet, getting better sleep, and spending more time outside are other important items to work on. (Yes, these can be considered DBT skills)

Maintaining my physical health not only helps with mood stability, it also helps with self-esteem and resiliency. When I do have bad dips, being in better physical health means bouncing back quicker. 

BB gunning after more dates
(I think he's getting more deliberate playin' that "cute card!")



2. Mind.

I've fallen out of practice with my DBT skills. Being around my family has meant a lot of triggers and a lot of pressure toward bad habits. Moving away is the biggest, most helpful step toward regaining my mental stability. The move isn't going to happen instantaneously-though I can begin working on my DBT immediately. 

The top three things I'm going to work on first? Catching judgments, utilizing distraction and participation, and self-care. 

Catching judgments is a helpful way to veer away from black-and-white thinking. It's helped me tamp down my suicidal impulses and negative self-talk. Distraction and participation help with my anxiety as well as not getting carried away with depressive rumination. Self-care means a lot of things for different folks; for me it means mindfully pursuing healthier habits including: bathing, eating well, hydrating, doing my hair more often, putting on "real clothes" instead of PJs all day, and so on. 

DBT skills address body, mind, and soul-true-for me it falls mostly under "mind" because it takes a lot of mental work!

Hospital visit.


3. Soul.

Healing a broken heart means acknowledging the damage and while I've discussed this many times before, I am recommitting myself to creating healthy distance from my family. I found this article very helpful and am continuing to read and muster my defenses and conviction.

It's been so very difficult for me to cope with the intense feelings of (in my mind) letting my family go. I think doing some reading, writing some key points down, and actively pursuing progress will help me make some progress which should garner more stability and health and PEACE!

I also find DBT skills helpful in achieving peace and soothing my soul. 


Heh, when I was in DBT they talked about it as a lifestyle change and not a contained treament. Yep. I can vouch for that ;o)

It's a lot of work and that's okay.
"It's what I do."
(This is from "Alpha House" BTW)


So. I've written somethings out. I'm getting back on the horse. One good day at a time is great, but I'm working toward getting those weeks of remission at a time, and that means a coordinated attack. 

That said, it's all about baby steps. The dance I have to do to maintain health is complex and I've fallen out of practice. Now it's time to relearn it and get my groove back. One step at a time.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Acknowledge, Accept, Engage

Ya might think this will be a political post and it isn't. The truth is that I've been having a rough time and I haven't posted about it because I'm self-conscious about posting too often and/or posting incongruous posts. Well, that's life with mental health diagnoses. I can have glorious moments on family vacation and horrible lows all in the same week-or day.

So here goes.

The Friday before we left for our road trip I had my first full-on panic attack in months. My anxiety had been elevated for weeks and I think the pre-departure stress put me in a very vulnerable position.

The class that day was probably around triple the usual size because of an altered schedule that week. We were doing an exercise that involved many people dropping barbells almost in unison. That first round put me over. The tears came on, my body began shaking, my heart rate sky rocketed, and a flush came over me beyond my workout glow.

I grabbed my water bottle and purse, bounding into the front room to haphazardly open my emergency pill container that dangles from my wallet at all times. Between the shakes and my restrictive weightlifting wrist bands it was quite a task! After popping my pill I ran cold water over my hands and face before grabbing some frozen sponges and taking some time to walk around outside to calm myself. A friendly childcare/office lady talked with me during this time and helped me calm down as well.

Yesterday, I had to run out of a workout again.

I haven't been able to manage my anxiety the last several weeks and injuries preventing me from engaging in my workouts as I'd like have been quite upsetting. With the elevated anxiety I wasn't able to think straight and ask my coach for help scaling, instead I panicked when the workout began and subsequently walked out before a full blown panic attack struck.

I collapsed on the grass in the sun outside the gym and cried.

My coach hollered from the warehouse door to see if I was okay and I told him it was anxiety and that I'd be fine.

Later, after the workout, he asked if I wanted to talk about it. I started crying and shrugged my shoulders. He asked if the anxiety just "cropped up" and I told him that it had been a problem for a while. This time, it was more than anxiety though, the suicidal impulses have returned. I told him that I had some mental health diagnoses that involve anxiety and chronic suicidality. That these disorders require me to work out frequently at a certain intensity or things can get dangerous for me. My injuries have been gumming that up.

He thanked me for talking to him and I thanked him as well. A couple other folks inquired as to my well being and wished me well.

I love the support I've received there. It does freak me out that I'm experiencing such intense symptoms where I feel most safe. I can understand it, sure, I'm just concerned that I can't even relax at my relaxing place.



I'm very scared. The dips are persisting longer than they have in a long time. I've had suicidal episodes since moving here, they were acute though. This is a different animal. A slippier animal.

The hubs has pushed things into high gear looking for alternate housing. I've been trying to avoid my family as much as possible. I still need to pull out my DBT book and focus on really working some skills...

My brain is slow yet my thoughts are fast.

My body is weary yet I can't relax.

I have to acknowledge this isn't just a little dip. I've had a few intense episodes since the move and this isn't that. It's been a slow, sneaky descent. I find it more difficult to recognize the dark logic as my disease and I'm starting to romanticize suicidal ideations.

I feel like I'm walking a very dangerous line. I feel desperate. I am afraid. And I'm crying at the drop of hat-more and more in public and when driving (not exactly safe).

Moving here was a bad, bad idea. I came in with the best intentions, trying to tamp down the fear and focus on meeting the challenge, but I have to retreat.

Over and over I think, "my family is killing me," and it haunts me. I feel guilt. I feel anger. I don't think they mean to and yet a sense of victimization overwhelms me. It isn't fair. Why me? So many other people have it so much worse... It's so messy. It's so hurtful. They aren't safe. This can't be malicious, you can't hold them accountable for ignorance... I feel like they would be offended and confused to hear this and yet I can't deny it. I don't want to hurt them, I don't want to blame them (though it is so hard to delineate between fact and blame for me)... but a cut needs to be made. I need to excise this threat.

Pain. Pain. Pain. Pain for staying, pain for leaving.

I suppose my brain chemistry at the moment doesn't help either.



Hope this isn't too incoherent. Thanks for being here, from vacation to crisis :o)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Slice of Vacay (Big Slice!)

Last week the hubs, Baby Bananaface, and I escaped from my parents' and went east! 
Our first stop, my in-laws' home. We had a relaxing evening and despite the visit being mostly functional stopover, we enjoyed each others' company as usual.
Next we ventured further forward (those ghastly smoke-filled skies from the wildfires up north following us for hundreds of miles) to a small town in Oregon. BB got to play and make friends-for-a-day at the playground before hopping back in the car and heading for Twin Falls, ID. Another great park experience (surprise pooslide inc.) and then another stint of driving to Boise for the night.
Ugh. Went cheap. Nasty motel. Never again. Anyways.
The next day we made it into Salt Lake.
It was something different to my eyes being in such a large city in such a flat format. The mountains wooed me instantly. On our hike the next day I lost my breath before we stepped on the trail. I was choked up with the beauty of those mountains. I live in Western Washington and am used to big ole mountains covered in pine. I thought that was majesty. I thought those were vital. Now they feel smothering... the mountains there felt like a weight off my shoulders. Freedom. Vibrant vitality. 
I will wrap up with other tidbits, for now enjoy some visual aids!

In front of Donut Falls


Helping BB walk along the creek on the way to the falls.
Ya know. Us. ;o)

At Cecret Lake, the other hike. It was quite popular and very fun despite being more elevation and climb.



The hubster wanted to "catch me in my natural element."


We weren't exactly sure what these critters were at the time
and have since discovered they are ground squirrels!
Quite numerous and quite fearless. Helped keep BB's attention!




Hubby spotting BB as he takes off climbing and scrambling and running down trail!

Walking through wildflower fields at the bottom of the hike....


BB's enchanting stance at The Great Salt Lake...
I love this picture and can't quite sum up why at the moment!




Other moments of our vacation included playgrounds as often as possible, exploring the Aviary at Liberty Park, Wasatch Brewery (YUM), Antelope Island (bison and antelope!!!), and simply enjoying some time to relax in a cozy cottage together as a family. Oh, and BB pooped on the potty again!!! Yay!

Our vacation was fun and beautiful and delicious. It was also speckled with anxiety and depressive symptoms. Arguing. Stress. Part of our vacation mission was to scout the Salt Lake area as a potential relocation spot for us in the near future. With a different weather pattern, great amenities, and job opportunity for both of us there is a lot of potential there to grow and maintain a healthy life. Not to mention, we simply like it.

We've decided to move out of my parents' as soon as possible. Regain our health and stability. I'm going to pursue my master's degree online. We're going to save up money and he's going to apply for jobs and hopefully, within a couple years, we'll be back in Salt Lake to make a new home for ourselves. We are very much hoping that his folks will move down there with us! 

It's a lot to take in a lot of work. We shall see :o)