My Daily Check-in Sheet

It was suggested to me I put my check-in sheet I use for myself on my blog in pdf form so DailyCheckIn! More content to come soon, there’s a lot going on including progress with TMS and what it’s like.

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A pinch of apps, a spoonful of mood tracking

The waters of life have set storms in my direction I haven’t until now experienced the past couple months and I ought to sing how grateful I am that I’ve stayed afloat and haven’t drowned by now, my initial ship is now a bit of a flat raft with a worn bed sheet as a sail, and so if you were to ask how I’m doing I’d say that I’m managing the heat stroke and paddling in the right direction. Managing my functionality is the name of the game.

From the ashes of some of my wrecked ship pieces has come the idea for a website which is currently under construction. I’m tremendously proud that I brought the idea to life and have finished one full page about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Aside from mental health it will also address Lyme Disease which I have over a decade of experience with. I will be having a blog for both topics on the site. Right now, it’s still a baby, but it’s what I’ve been up to (aside from working all the time and an increased rage associated with the companies professionalism).

Breathing and meditation are just not for me. It’s like coffee. Coffee ‘doesn’t work for me’. I can drink an iced coffee with 4 espresso shots and feel only a bit more energized for a short period of time. Breathing is good for grounding but not very soothing to me. Same with meditation. I’d rather talk aloud or hum to hear my voice and inner monologue what it feels like to be driving. I’ve been using an app called “VitalTones” and using their app for decreasing anxiety, I’ve done it daily for a couple weeks and haven’t seen a difference. I’m logging my moods on an app called “Mood Log” and making a note with every entry about what’s happening at the time I’m logging my number mood 1-10 (1 being worst mood 10 the best) and then transferring all the daily data to my journal, averaging mood and anxiety and then graphing it, and will bring to my doctor. Here’s a page from my journal:

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As you can see, I haven’t been feeling too great. As far as anxiety goes, 1 is lowest anxiety, 10 is highest. At the moment I’m writing this I’m about a 6.5. In an ideal world I’d log my mood every 10 minutes, but I don’t have the drive for that on a day off nor do I have the luxury on a work day. That would give the most accurate depiction. I feel like a lot of the time my 7-9 anxiety doesn’t get logged because I’m busy and then my averages look more like a 4 or 5 rather than what is more likely a 6 or 7. Logging my mood has made me feel as if I have more control in managing my functionality. I recommend it. I also recommend the whole breathing and meditation thing, but I also have to say do what works for you. What gets you through the day? The hour? The minute?

Journey to the Center of the Earth

As a student researcher on mental illness stigma I was impressed to see an article about high functioning depression recently. Unfortunately in my opinion it fell a little flat of the full picture and per usual, unless I’m reading an empirical case study, I’m selfishly irritated with the pop-psych paragraph or two about the strong Suzie Superheroes that go to school and work full time and are still sad inside (but her peers just can’t tell!)

I’d prefer reading an article collaboration by a collection of highly functioning depressed adults that show the individual unique experiences as well as the common struggles. Where is the paragraph of Suzie Superheroes that talks about how the only time she feels relief from the physiological discomfort that rises from her anxiety and depression is when she’s laying in bed and can’t sleep and thinks about how tension relieving it must feel like to pop your teeth out one at a time? Are all Suzie Superheroes having that thought? Likely not, but it’s an accurate example portrayal of how everyone’s depression oppresses them differently, and how brutally gritty it can be.

Today I was ready to quit my job, hitchhike to New Zealand and sleep on a beach for the rest of my life. Like legit, sleeping beauty 100 years of ZzZ’s kind of sleep. That or hop into traffic. Of course I know better, so I went through the motions and have socially self isolated myself to deal with my emotional tetanus privately. THAT way, I don’t have to feel the associated guilt about being a pathetic mope whose no fun to be around. I merely just pine after and resent the lack of an out pour of love and hugs and verbal reassurance that I am special and loved. I know the lows get better eventually, they generally do, but the perpetual sadness even in a baseline state of being is no way to live.

Kleenex must make bank off of folks like me. Shit.

After 2 failed attempts at finding a new psychiatrist (one is booked for the next two months and the other is listed as taking my insurance then e-mailed to say, “just kidding! I don’t take any insurance; though for a small fee of $450 upfront in full I can give you 90 minutes of my time for an intake”.

My mixed bipolar episode of 2-3 weeks and counting (once I caught on that’s what was happening to me I had to go back in time to measure when symptoms started) has destroyed my bank account, led me to making a huge fool of myself, overwhelming numbers of grandiose projects started, absurd thoughts, lost sleep, crying before and after work (and at home, and driving to the grocery store…) and most recently the urge to drop dead (as well as an increase of run on sentences). It’s destroying me!

Today I felt as though I had reached rock bottom, then reminded myself that it’s a simple step to keep digging even if I don’t mean to and fall even further down the jagged path until I reach the center of the earth and burn to a crisp. Worry not though readers, I’m WAY too terrified of the idea of hell to off myself.

Oh yeah, the psychiatrist thing. I threw a metaphysical dart at the pdf file that Blue Cross sent; a list of doctors who take my insurance plan. Looks like I’m seeing some quack Monday morning. I did some snooping for reviews after I made the appointment which either said he was horrible and should take up a job cleaning up vomit or that he’s fabulous.

Regardless, I’m hoping for a medication adjustment and a STRONG anti depressant. CBT, mindfulness, gratitude journals, listing all the things I’m great at and why life is worth living can take you only so far. At the moment it’s all a bunch of ineffective or joke worthy garbage in my state of mind and Obi Wan-Kenobi (obviously a metaphor for expensive Western medicine) is my only hope.

 

100 Minute Panic Attacks & Other Fine Feelings

For an hour my mind had been processing at over 100 wpm. I say words per minute (wpm) because I know I type on average 100 wpm and I was thinking way faster than I could type everything I wanted to say. In fact it had been one of those wormhole experiences where the electrical signals in my brain were playing tag so fast that only my body was responding at that point. My heart also surpassed the 100 wpm mark which made mindful deep breathing a chore and light-headedness a constant. I was having a full-blown panic attack and screaming quite loudly, internally, of course. The whole house was asleep for the night and I’m far too medicated to freak out like a feral child over my first toaster surprise experience.

So what the hell set me off? I won the lottery! Not the fun never-have-to-work-another-day-in-my-life lottery, but the knowledge lottery. Check this THE HELL OUT! http://psychology.tools/download-therapy-worksheets.html

During my in and out-of-body experience I downloaded/saved/printed 100 or so worksheets and handouts (100 is a popular number tonight). I made extra copies of some of them, so I’d have a few to go off of before I’d need to make more copies for a thought log CBT diary, etc. I want to have one master hard copy of them all in addition to the saved .pdf’s I made. I wanted to cry at how glad I was that people had come together and made these resources and shared them FOR FREE. You know, when I go digging around online for grade school and special ed teaching tool worksheets there are websites that limit the amount of downloads you can have per month and other websites that want you to pay money for worksheets on identifying basic coins or color by numbers. It’s the reality of the internet, which makes finds like this site even more golden. The thing that makes this a “Mega Millions” kind of win is that people put these resources up to aid other counselors, educators, and seekers of self-help, “just because”. That’s what I’m here to do, that’s why I got into the field, and I’m so damn lucky for someone who struggles with bipolar and OCD on a daily basis as well as someone who is studying to help people who need these resources implemented in a therapeutic environment to get better to have access to these materials.

(I may laugh and/or groan tomorrow if I find this all way less exciting than I do now after admitting it to my WordPress community in writing, but let me not get ahead of myself.)

On my journey to build a bigger better therapy binder (for personal use, I need to get back on the structured recovery and maintenance track) I’ll find other sites, other resources and feel really really bad that I blew through so much ink…but I’m trying on a daily basis to fight the good fight, and this is a great achievement even just to collect materials I know I need and will help me, and then to use them. My obsessions are getting a little out of control lately and my catastrophic thinking is becoming more problematic than usual. Believe me, there’ll be lots of highlighting, section dividers and spazzing about how to organize it all in the days ahead. Of course I’ll sneak in the replying to posts and catching up on blogs too, because that is at the top of the priority list after every entry I make!