Medication

Medications are often used to treat mental health problems.  Finding medications that are effective is an ongoing process.

One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small.

And the ones your mother gives you

Don’t  do anything at all.

Go ask Alice

When she’s ten feet tall.

~~”White Rabbit: Jefferson Airplane

This is the story of my journey with depression and anxiety medications.  There have been several changes to medications and dosages.  Some were totally ineffective.  Others resulted in side effects that made continuing impractical.  So, the process continues. My current regime seems to be heading in the correct direction although we are still looking for the correct dosage.

At some point, this song will no longer reflect my current situation: they will be something in my past.  I have seen medications work well with few, if any, side effects.

The line about what mother gives not working is sadly accurate.  And won’t change.  Mom keeps telling me the depression and anxiety are all in my head and all I need to do is pull myself up and choose not to feel that way.  She also tells me I can recover from the brain injury.

Depression and anxiety are “in my head” but not in the way she means.  No one can choose not to be depressed or anxious. They hijack your brain’s neurotransmitters.  They change the physical structure.  I wouldn’t choose this.  I want to enjoy life: not to feel like crying, feeling hopeless, not enjoying life.  I’d love to travel, or just get out the house, without a feeling of impending doom.  Or to quit worrying.  Or not to have panic attacks.  I also want to give up medication and be stable.

Recovery is a journey.  Some days are better than others. Sometimes I stay in my house for days.  If I push myself I can run around the block a few times.

This isn’t living.  Its existing.

Yet I keep moving.  Someday.

Meditation On Hope

I came across the quote yesterday while I did yoga.  

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves-regret of the past and fear of the future. ” – Fulton Ousler

Intriguing quote.  

“Coulda, shoulda, woulda”. We lose so much time chewing over the past.  It keeps us stuck in the past, ruminating about past mistakes and missed chances.  It does nothing for us.  The past is gone and nothing can change that fact.  The thief takes our forward momentum  prevents us from a sense of peace with our pasts and the ability to forgive ourselves and others.  As long as we regret the past, our lives are lived there- we are chained. 

This is not to say that we should completely forget our pasts.  There are valuable lessons there that helps us learn and grow as a person.   But we should spend our time in the present, where we can take actions to build our futures.

We all have fears.  The future is unknown and most people fear the unknown.  We like to control everything and have a good shot at understanding what is happening.  But if we fear the future, the thief takes our sense of hope and the ability to move forward and take risks.  It may prevent you from trying something new and perhaps rewarding: such as a new job.  

I had to get an endoscopy and colonscopy because of some concern over health issues.  I was terrified.  The fear of the future, both the process and the possible findings, almost kept me from having the procedure done.  It was simply fear of the unknown future.  I never had these procedures done, so they scared me.  I survived.  And they found a couple of things that are easy to treat now but would have caused more,serious problems later.  My fear could have had a major impact on my health.  

Looking to the future is good to set goals: for example, going to college and getting s degree.  We have to look at that goal to plan our present.

Staying in the present allows us to take action to influence the future.  Control is a myth.  We control nothing in life. We influence what happens in our present and future.  There are too many variables to control the outcomes.  But without setting the goal and going after it, the goal will never happen.  The their of fear hold back our future.

Throw off the chains of the past and move forward bravely. 

Intrusive thoughts 

I have PTSD from an experience in the military.  Many people with it can get intrusive thoughts, where you just keep thinking about it- it comes back like a bad smell.

This can also be a problem for people in substance abuse recovery: constantly thinking about the past and using, or problems in the past.  Same with depression.  These thoughts tend to be about uselessness, hopelessness, no hope, and a variety of other negative self-talk.

What sucks is once the thoughts start, it is massively difficult to get them to shut the hell up and let you live.  A social worker I know refers to intrusive thoughts as “The Commite.” It fits.  Maybe like Gordon Ramsey on “Hell’s Kitchen.”  They aren’t friendly.

I’ve been watching the Olympics.  It struck me that the athletes and spectators come from all over the world for a common purpose.  It’s not perfect: there’s disagreements at times. But. Generally speaking, it is a hard competition with the athletes being respectful of each other.  

One year my brother and I went to Disnesy World.  There is a ride there that has been popular for generations.  It deals with people getting along.  And the music is annoying , with a catchy tune that just sticks in your head.

Well, it works to counter intrusive thoughts, at least for me.  When that song is running in my head, there’s no “room” for the thoughts.  There are probably other songs that might work better for you.

Anyway, if you have intrusive thoughts, try this:

It’s a Small World
Have a wonderful day.  And you’re welcome.

Running

I just noticed that I haven’t blogged about running for a long time.

Finally, I came to an uncomfortable acceptance that I will most likely never run another marathon.  In a way, this is good.  I can run now without the pressures of long training runs and time commitment.  My “competition” is against myself, the course, and time by running virtual races.  I still train for them like a “live” race.  My training varies from slow long runs to speed work.  The longest distance I race is 10k. My goals right now are a post BI personal bests in a 10k and 5k.  I also want to run in a road race again.

on a nature trail


Now that my training is less intense I notice the beauty of my surroundings.  I was so serious before that stopping in a training run was forbidden; never mind taking picture.  The tree is next to a nature trail never my house.I noticed my surroundings but I didn’t take time to really see them.  Now, I hear the wind, birds, running water and other sounds of nature if I’m at the lake.  I also notice traffic noises on the road which is not quite as nice.   Running is more enjoyable.

I must admit that sometimes I feel slow and I’m frustrated by changes to my body and brain.  These days are frustrating.  I like a challenge but not comparing before and after.  It accomplishes nothing.

I want to run a marathon again.  I enjoy the challenge.  If it doesn’t happen, it’s ok.  Running again is ultimately more important than running a specific race.

Find something you love and allow yourself to enjoy it.  It matters.

Battles Within

I’m having a hard time right now.  Nothing interests me.  There seems to be nothing out there anymore.  Kaliyah makes me smile with her antics.  Brighid purrs.  In a way they give me the strength to get out of bed.  And I still lace up my shoes and run.  Endorphins are a wonderful thing.  Maybe I’ll figure this shit out.

I had an appointment with my therapist last Thursday.  He asked what was “normal.”

My response: “Everyone is fucked up in some way.  There’s just different levels of fuckery.”  It’s true.  Playing the “I’m Worse Than You ” game is pointless.  Suffering is suffering.

Have compassion for all beings; rich and poor alike.  They all have their own suffering.  Some suffer too much; others too little. ~ Buddha

Battles within

Not all wars are on battlefields

 Outside is the face of strength 

A smile hides the inner scream 

Of fear and anguish.

A choice made a chance interlude

With death, fear, and pain

A life destroyed in one second.

Dreaming to make a different decision

Leaving life to flow onward

With a purpose 

Yet even in darkness

When the soul slowly withers

It does not die

Another choice to be made?
Fight one more day.