Tuesday, December 21, 2010


it's one of those times when it's very uncomfortable to be me.  i have a pretty clear vision of how I want my life to be and it doesn't seem like it would take that much to get there.  But it's always just beyond reach.  I could go see my therapist, and I do believe in the therapeutic process, but it seems like we've talked the issues inside out and backwards, too.  I feel my being able to keep up at work slipping away and the household has definitely gotten away from me.  There's a couple of people who are silent that hearing even a simple, 'I know things are rough right now' would help alot.  But it's not there; just a deafening silence that says more than any words they would utter.  My thinking is fuzzy.  I'm uncomfortable in  my body.  I fantasize about assuming a new identity and beginnign a new life; if I could start out with a level playing field in some ways, it would be awfully tempting. 

It's the kind of period where I buy a gingerbread man, get one with only one eye and it reminds me of a client with one eye who died earlier this year.  It's the kind of period where I soak my feet when I cross the street, not being quite able to straddlea puddle.  Where, when I take my second bite of lunch, I get tomato sauce all down the front of my new blouse I really like.  Where later, someone says, 'come here, you 've got something on your jacket', and it turns out it's a huge smudge of icing where you backed into a cake when someone wouldn't make room for you to get through.  Where you get a paper cut that won't stop bleeding and you have a hard time finding someone who has a bandaid and then an even harder time getting help putting it on, so it's all wrinkled around your finger when you end up doing it yourself.. 


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Digging Deeper

So, I'm tired of impression management and I'm tired of thinking I need to keep certain things to myself and I'm tired of worrying about worrying people and I'm tired of the patchwork mess much of my life is.

When I was growing up, I was not taught,  nor did my parents model, what we call the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living, which includes meal prep, med management, money management, laundry and chores.

I suck at them all.  Except for being a pretty good cook.  I especially suck at managing money.  And, with two major changes to my finances, I can't afford my life.  Currently this takes the form of not having had electrical services since June.

Over the last two years, my rent went from $275 to $525.  I added a car payment of $365/month.  My health care deductible went from $500 to $2500.  I have the storage fee of $100/month.  It's too much.

I have to have the car for work, but can't get it re-financed.  Need the health care in case of catastrophe.  Can't save the money to get the stuff out of storage, or to replace the car window broken two years ago or the side mirror I tore off two years ago. 

Because of all this, I have no idea when I will be able to get the electricity turned back on.  Which means I cannot use my c-pap machine for my sleep apnea.  Meaning I stay a bit more tired and groggy.  Truth be told, that's probably why I can't swim as much.  It means I can't use my microwave or keep food in the frig, so I eat out more, adding to my costs.  It means I can't do artwork at home.  I read by candlelight. 

So there.  I've laid it out.  Universe, what do you have to say?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Irrational Thoughts aka Cognitive Distortions

In my last post, I stated that a depressed person's thoughts could be as irrational as that of a person with schizophrenia.  That is not to say that a depressed person is psychotic; for example, that a depressed person has bizarre delusions.  It does mean that their thoughts, formerly called neurotic, simply are illogical.

As John M. Grohol, Psy.D. says at PsychCentral.com, "What’s a cognitive distortion and why do so many people have them? Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves. "

Common examples of cognitive distortions include jumping to conclusions,overgeneralizing, catastrophizing and blaming among others.  A complete list with short descriptions is available at PsychCentral and I urge you to check it out.

For more detailed information, David Burns', "Feeling Good:  The New Mood Therapy" discusses each one in more detail and provides many strategies one can use alone, with a confidant or mental health professional, to address distorted thinking.  One can learn to restructure ones' thoughts this way.

It should be noted that the most efficacious treatments of depression, or any mental health problems, is a combination of medications and therapy.  This has been demonstrated in multiple studies since the invention of the SSRIs in the early 90's. 

I hope that the last post was not so shocking as to prevent anyone from reading further; the subject is too important and I only wrote these to point out the reasons for pursuing several avenues of treatment for this type of issue.

If you are not trying medications due to financial reasons, many towns and states have programs to help you access the meds you need and many pharmaceutical companies do as well.  What have you got to lose?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Deep Thoughts about Irrational Thoughts

There is more to the matter of managing depression than is on the surface.  The impact of depression on a life is seriously underestimated in this culture.  We refer to it as the 'common cold' of medicine.  This implies that it's not serious, just something irritating that we can all slug through.  This also implies that nothing more than mildly relieving symtoms can be done for it.

Research indicates that one in seven people will experience depression
Suicide is the third highest cause of death among adolescents
Twice as many women as men experience depression
By 2020 it will be the second most significant health problem in the world
People with depression are 4 x more likely to have a heart attack than those without
It can increase a woman's risk for broken bones

It is the leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15-44
In the US, businesses spend between 12 and 70 billion dollars caring for or paying the medical expenses of employees that have depression or related illnesses.

Only 10% of all people with depression will receive treatment.
Treatment can provide relief to 80-90% of those affected.

Before the development of SSRIs, cognitive therapy was the most efficacious treatment for depression.  Researchers and therapists discovered that the thought processes of someone with depression can be as irrational as those of someone with untreated schizophrenia.

So, are those thoughts your real thoughts?

Seventh Day of Chanukah

Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness - to seek the light.
Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness - to seek the light.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light.
~Allen Ginsberg, "Psalm III"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deep thoughts

Frequently when I feel as if I want to share something deep, something 'weighty', that's when I have the least to say.

I want to draw again; in the mood, but I don't dig out the kind of paper I want to draw on.  Blah.

There is a new protocol for managing fibromyalgia I've just been informed about that uses, of all things, mucinex.  However, it requires avoiding all types of foods, topicals, meds, which I'm not very good at.  After all, looke how 'successful' I've been at keeping kosher!  Additionally, one goes through a period of getting worse before getting better.  I don't know if I can deal with that!

I've also been looking at the topic of true self and how we know when our thoughts and feelings are a reflection of the self we were created to be vs. the interference of environment, disease, whatever.

A friend here in blogger stated recently that she disliked using antidepressants as she wanted to know what she is 'really thinking'.  She believes she can only do that when she is not medicated.

This has never made sense to me, especially with my own successful treatment with antidepressants.

You are not your depression, nor are you the symptoms of your depression.  Suppose the mind is a window through which the true self shines.  That window becomes dirty.  There is a way to clean the mirror so that your true self shines more clearly.  Wouldn't you want to clean, and keep clean, the window.

It is like saying I'm not going to take pain medication for my arthritis or insulin for my diabetes; that living with pain or high blood sugars are the 'real you'.

Pain is not normal--physical or mental!  Pain is the indication that something is wrong which needs to be fixed or controlled.

I could never think my true thoughts or be my true self until I was successfully treated.  And I cannot imagine going back to the pain I experienced. 

I hate it when people tell me they have tried antidepressants and they did not work.  GPs, family practitioners and internists are not qualified to prescribe them.  It takes a psychiatrist.  Depression is not the common cold of mental health and should not be blown off as such.

Sixth day of Chanukah

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.

                                                  Michael Strassfield.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fifth Day of Hannukah

The commandment to light the Hanukkah lamp is an exceedingly precious one, and one should be particularly careful to fulfill it.  In order to make known the miracle, and to offer additional praise ... to God for the Wonders which He has wrought for us.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Thoughts for the Fourth NIght

Oh, hear my prayer, I sing to you.
Be gracious to the ones I love
And bless them with goodness and mercy and peace
Oh hear my prayer to you.

Oh, let us light these lights and see the way to you and let us say amen.
Oh, let us light these lights and see the way to you and let us say amen.

                              -Debbie Friedman

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Third Day of Chanukah

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle.
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thought for Second day of Chanukah

Another prophet of those difficult times, Zechariah, transmitted to the People an image of purity and grandeur: he prophesied about a menorah of pure gold, flowing continuously with holy oil. Thus, long before the Chanukah story, the menorah became a symbol of hope and light. Many centuries later too, the menorah became the symbol of the Jewish People, and a major theme in synagogue art and architecture.

Thursday, December 2, 2010