superbetter.com

Hey All,

I just came across this site called Super Better (https://www.superbetter.com/). I think it would work perfect for CBT therapy for those suffering with social anxiety.

Check it out.

Hope all is well. 🙂

depression is waiting

It’s been too long since I last blogged. Typing this right now is bringing back lots of memories, good and bad.

As many of you know, I tried to kill myself on 5/20/2011.

This attempt was very serious. Months of planning and plotting coupled with hundreds of dollars spent on drugs from India went into it. I carried that exact date in my head for weeks – in a cruel way, it kept me going. *Please do a search if you want more info.*

Anyway, since I am no longer in that state of mind, I have been thinking a lot about how I felt then. I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts into something coherent, but they’re just not coming together. I still want to share them though. My hope is that by sharing them and starting a discussion with you (if anyone still reads this), it will bring me some closure.

So over the next few days, I will be doing a series of posts detailing some of my notes/thoughts.

Depression is waiting.

Time moved slower. I moved slower, as I waited for something – anything, really – to change. The days grew longer, and the only thing that seemed to make speed them up, were thoughts of an exit. Death, in other words. 

career

I can’t believe it’s almost been a month since I last blogged. So much has happened.

I’m still on the Nardil, which is going really well. Depression is in check as well as the anxiety for the most part. The worst side effect is the fact that I can only sleep about 5 to 6 hours a night. I get so tired during the day, yet I still can’t get enough sleep at night. I either can’t get to sleep or I wake up and can’t fall back asleep. Fortunately, my body has adapted to it. But sometimes it’s hard to function during the day. It’s a side effect though that I’m willing to live with. Nardil has been amazing thus far.

As the title of this post suggests, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life. As many of you know, I am in graduate school for library and information science. I am also working at an accounting firm. I started work at the firm thinking that it would just be temporary until I graduate; however, the work has ignitated a fire inside of me that I haven’t felt in a long time. But now I’m left not knowing what to do. Should I finish school or should I just scrap library science altogether and get into an accounting program to get my CPA?

I am still passionate about libraries, but I love what I’m doing right now. I have four more classes to take until I graduate. I can only manage taking one class a semester, so I wouldn’t graduate until Decemeber 2012 at the earliest. That could be a lot of wasted time and money and effort if I’m just going to go right back to school after I gradate.

Logically, I tell myself that it’s four classes–I should just finish. But my gut is telling me to pursue accounting, no matter the costs. I’m constantly thinking about this which is probably adding to my sleep problems.

That’s a brief summary of what’s going on right now with me. I’ll post more later this week. I miss you all, and I hope all is well. 🙂

Oh and my tattoo is finished. Email me if you’d like to see a pic.

nardil blues

I’m really tired. One of the nasty side effects of Nardil is insomnia. It usually happens at a higher dose than the one I’m on now, so when the insomnia hit me earlier this week it caught me off guard. I’ve always been one to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This week, however, I’ve been getting between 4 and 6. It’s starting to take it’s toll on my system.

It’s hard enough being overworked, underpaid, and undervalued at work but when you throw insomnia into the mix, it just makes it all so much worse. Last week I felt so great. Both the depression and anxiety lifted. I was euphoric. Everything seemed to be going well. I felt like I was going in the right direction.

Now the depression has really swept back in and the anxiety is starting to creep back as well. I’m starting to lose a little bit of hope.

On a lighter note I got my tattoo finished last Sunday. The session went great. I’m running a half-marathon this Sunday, which should be interesting due to my fatigue. I have been training fairly consistently over the last few months but this past week I’ve sort of given up a bit but that’s okay because I should be resting this week anyway.

I’m really stressed about my job and school situation. I have four more classes to take to graduate. My original plan was to take two classes in the Fall, one in the Spring, and one in the summer. I’m making very little money at this point at work so getting financial aid would help, but I really don’t know if I can handle taking two classes in the Fall plus work full time. (I have to take at least two classes to be eligible for aid.) I also desperately need to get some experience in the library.

So I am thinking about taking one class in the Fall plus volunteer at a library, and then one internship in the Fall and one in the summer as well, and then take my final course the following Fall. So I won’t graduate until December 2012. This seems ideal, but I’d like to find a new job that pays more. I started looking for jobs earlier this week, which always puts me into a foul mood to begin with, but the insomnia and subsequent depression has kind of put a damper on that.

Ugh. I’ll stop complaining.

tattoos and hasty conclusions

I think I mentioned briefly in a past post that I had just got a tattoo–and if I didn’t, well I just got a tattoo. Not going into too much detail, I’m a fan of  dialectics–thesis, antithesis, synthesis–so I got a tattoo of a dragon, some waves, a peaceful river, mountains and a sun–all done in Japanese style–each representing a phase of the dialectic process, on my right arm.

Anyway, during my first tattoo session, which by the way was my first tattoo session for my first tattoo, I felt nervous/anxious/excited/etc./etc. I took an Ativan to help calm my nerves, which did very little if anything.

I had to take off my shirt, and even before the tattooing began, I was, to put it mildly, sweating horrendously (I brought a rag to wipe up the sweat from my underarms), not much worse though than any other social interaction. I was also wincing and wasn’t talking much to the artist who badly wanted to talk. Thankfully my girlfriend did most of the talking. Being a twenty year tattoo vet and slightly insensitive, about halfway through the session, he looked at me and asked, “Why is this so much harder for you that for everyone else?”

Shocked and caught off guard, I said, “It really hurts.” I left it at that.

I didn’t think much of this until a few days later when it hit me–I was pissed. Him saying that seemed akin to a therapist asking, “Why can’t you be like my other patients?” On the surface what he said was not only insensitive but extremely hurtful as well. It’s my job to sit as still as possible while getting a tattoo. The experience itself is mine, though. If I don’t want to talk that should be fine. If I want to wince that should be fine too. Shouldn’t that be somewhat expected, especially from someone who has been tattooing for that long? As soon as I started thinking about it, I realized just how angry I was. I also knew right away that that anger had been building and was ready to burst. I didn’t really know what to do with it so I just put the anger aside for a few days.

And that’s exactly what I did. Inspired by Layara, I came back to the issue when I had some time alone to think a day or two later and came to the conclusion that perhaps I had been jumping to hasty conclusions on what exactly he meant. He could have just been having a bad day and did in fact take it out on me. Maybe he really was just trying to ask if I was doing okay and it came out wrong. Whatever the reason, it’s not my fault. I did nothing wrong. It’s so easy for me to blame myself in situations like that.

Further, I tend to jump to huge conclusions based on the most minute types of behavior. For example–

  • If someone gives me a tired look while I’m talking to him or her then it’s my fault. They find me boring. They would rather be doing something else.
  • If someone doesn’t say hi to me and smile then I’m probably just not worthy of it in the first place and he or she really doesn’t like me.
  • Etc.

My point is that I have programmed myself to jump to very negative conclusions based on outward behavior, which has not served me. My hope is that one day I can catch myself making those hasty conclusions and and provide arguments or other scenarios to counter my irrational thinking. For now though, I’m doing my best to go back and look at situations and try to re-frame them, in order to attempt to objectify the situation more.

I go back to get my tattoo finished on Sunday. I’m excited, and the experience will be mine. If he’s not okay with that, I have the confidence now to let him know.

do we choose how others treat us?

This is my entry for July’s Blog Carnival of Mental Health. The topic is Stigma and Discrimination, which I interpreted liberally.

***

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the boundaries I set affects how others treat me. As some of you know, after my suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalization in an urgent care facility, I basically told my boss everything that had been going on. Why did I do this? Well, I trust him for the most part, he’s easy to talk to, and I need more people in my life who I can share my inner experiences with. In retrospect, this may not have been the best decision, but what’s done is done. I was in the midst of a crisis, and I may not have been thinking all that clearly. Things happen in a crisis.

Anyway, I also told him about the Nardil and about how it affects my diet (because he’s always trying to shove cheap pastries and hot dogs down my throat, which I can’t have while on Nardil).

Being who he is–older, somewhat wiser, and a wanna-be therapist–he likes to give me his opinions on my condition. For example, sometimes, when he’s stressed, he jokes around by saying things like, “I’d try to kill myself too if I just had the time.” I’ve spoken to him about this–about how that’s insensitive and is not something I want him joking about. He’s stopped. Other times, he gets serious and tries to tell me that, looking solely at my behaviors, I don’t need to be on medication, especially long-term.

Although, I appreciate that he cares, he has no idea what’s going on inside my head. Sure, my behaviors tell a particularly happy story about myself–a story that others interpret as the entire picture. I mean, I have a job. I’m in school. I have a girlfriend. I’m training for a marathon. All good things. Inside my head, though, something entirely different is going on. He, as well as many others, tend to forget this. I think we all tend to compare ourselves to others based on what we see. This is unfair not only to others but to ourselves as well.

Logically, it makes no sense to judge how we’re feeling on the inside to how others look and behave on the outside. I am incredibly guilty of this. It’s a huge reason why I suffer so immensely from social anxiety.

Anyhow, because I chose to disclose my condition and the fact that I am medicated, I have greatly altered my relationship to my boss. He has considerable power over me, even more so than he did before. He could use it against me if he wanted to.

So the question remains: Do I choose how people treat me based on what I disclose? The answer in my opinion is yes. Sure, there’s much more that goes into it than just that, but boundaries are a huge factor.

Most of the time I usually don’t disclose much of anything, and people think (at least in my opinion) that I’m distant, cold, boring, and that I perhaps don’t like them. In other cases, I disclose too much because I need emotional connection really, really bad. There is a happy/perfect medium which I haven’t exactly been able to find yet. Again, it’s something I’m working on, and, again, I believe one day I’ll get there.

nardil update

Wow! It’s already been two weeks since I last posted. So much has happened.

I’ve been on Nardil for about a month now. I’m currently taking 45 mg a day, which is still considered a small dose. It seems like the “magic” dose is 60 mg. I say magic because most people say that unlike most anti-depressants, you actually know when it’s working; it’s not a subtle change.

Although I haven’t experienced anything dramatic, I still have seen some benefits–

  • The best thing about Nardil so far is that it’s kept me from binging on food or alcohol, namely because I don’t eat out and have to avoid many foods or else I could go into a hypertensive crisis. I no longer suppress my negative emotions with food and/or alcohol. This has helped break the binging cycle I used to feel trapped in.
  • I’ve also noticed a slight decrease in anxiety and depression. I don’t over think things too much, which helps with the anticipatory anxiety. I’m also doing things I wouldn’t have done in the past because of my anxiety, like get a tattoo, and saying things that I would normally keep to myself.

The side effects haven’t been that bad so far. I have experienced afternoon tiredness, restless sleep, and loss of libido–all of which are normal–but they’ve all been fairly manageable. I’m scared about increasing my dose, though, because after reading a lot of peoples’ experiences on Nardil it seems as if that magic dose–of 60 mg–is when the major side effects hit, which include weight gain and insomnia.

I’m scared of both of them, but I am mindful of the fact that those side effects are not nearly as bad as the side effects from suicide. I just need to hang in there.

I hope everyone is doing well. 🙂