Tag: depression

Some new light

Previously

A few weeks ago I talked about being sick and having extreme tingles. I was beginning to think I might be experiencing my “new normal.” This must be how people with chronic pain feel most of the time.

Getting help

It occurred to me that relief could be found with the help of a chiropractor, so I made an appointment with the doctor my brother and sister-in-law see.

First, Dr. Morrow talked with me about my issues. Then he examined me and found that the range of motion in my neck was far below what it should be for someone my age (almost 48.) He took some x-rays and scheduled me for a follow-up appointment for the next day.

Diagnosis

My neck is a mess! A normal cervical spine has a curve like this:

Case courtesy of Dr. Andrew Dixon, Radiopaedia.org. From the case rID: 32505

Mine curves the other way. It’s called retro lordosis. I also have some disc degeneration, spondylosis, and a few other minor things that I won’t bother mentioning.

The fix

Luckily, things can get better. I’ve started getting spinal adjustments, ultrasound treatments, and traction three times a week. I’ll be getting physical therapy as well.

I’m feeling so much better. My range of motion has increased, and I no longer feel so broken.

I’ve been feeling angry at my body for having MS, being overweight, walking weird, etc. Nothing good can come from thinking that way. I need a paradigm shift!

Moving forward

Now that I’m feeling like a human, I can get back to regular blogging. I never realized how much energy you need to sit in front of a computer and type and think.

Coming soon

I see the Hematologist find out if my MGUS has progressed to Multiple Myeloma.

Sneak preview: My M protein number is higher than it’s ever been. 1% of people with an MGUS go on to develop Multiple Myeloma each year. The odds have got to be with me.

Illustration of dice

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With Words

I’ve seen many crows flying around in my town for the last few days. These are sizable birds. When I see birds I think they must have a message for me. Maybe some of them do. Crows are able to recognize people’s faces. Is there a crow out there that knows me?

My life as a normal person is not at all interesting, so I try and convince myself that the presence of these crows in the sky has some mystical meaning.

I could be expressing gratitude for the uneventful life I lead. I’m not in a wildfire, or getting tear-gassed as I try and cross a border with my child. I have food, shelter, a car, devices that can access the internet, and a lot of stuff that I’d like to get rid of because I have a problem with clutter. Still, it feels as if there is something I’m missing. There’s something that I’m doing wrong.

Sometimes it helps to escape into art making.

Digital mixed media picture of crow
Digital mixed-media collage by Laura McCain Reed

The act of writing a poem also provides relief.

Wouldn’t it be be nice to be able to eat a giant chocolate candy bar whenever the craving strikes? I understand people who use food as a drugs. I see why people get high and drunk. We all need to escape the mundane.

This existential anxt is likely a product of seasonal affective disorder. Things should get better when winter comes and days begin to get longer.

For now, I’ll keep looking for messages from birds and making meaning with words.

Stress Source

I stupidly fired up the old Twitter app this morning and got involved in a thread (reading not tweeting) about how a certain newly-elected Latina congresswoman used the wrong word when referring to the different parts of the federal government. Suffice it to say that a lot of people are just awful.

I allowed myself to get stressed out before getting out of bed. Why do I subject myself to this abuse? I lived for 38 years with no Twitter. I’m sure I could go another 38 without it.

To try and negate the bad energy, I posted this uplifting quote.

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profundity. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu

One tweet from me won’t change the world, but maybe one person will see it and offer kindness to someone they meet. That person may pass it on to someone else. That would indeed be something.

In a future post, I’ll make a list of things to do instead of browsing Twitter when you just can’t bring yourself to put down the smartphone.

Much Better

It’s amazing how much better life is when your every waking moment isn’t anxiety filled. The increased Fluoxetine dosage is finally working, so life has not been awful for about two weeks. I do experience a few anxious moments, but I’m able to brush the feeling away and move to a better place. These days I have a song in my heart and a little spring in my step.

I finished my two 10 x 10 canvases. Now I need to reopen my Etsy store and offer them for sale. The desire to make jewelry is gradually creeping in, but mixed media is still more compelling.

My new podcast fix is Spontaneanation with Paul F. Tompkins. In the show, Tompkins has a conversation with a guest. The guest then comes up with a location for a narrative improv that will be performed later by the day’s assembled actors. It’s good fun!

Today is the last rehearsal before GenCon. I’ll be glad to get my Sundays back. If you’re going to Gen Con, look for Different Drummer Belly Dancers performing in the convention center during conference weekdays and then on Saturday before the costume contest. We’re saluting Star Wars! I’m Han Solo in this one.

I’ve been listening to one audiobook after the other. I’ll post about that soon. I’m still reading Welcome to Night Vale on my Kindle.

Things are just way better for me these days. I hope to get some things accomplished now that my mind is clear.

Photo of cone flower with yellow petals.
Today’s Timehop from two years ago.

 

Is it that bad?

If you pay attention to the news or log on to Facebook you’ll learn about horrible things going on in the world. Sometimes you hear about good things, but the bad sticks with you. It’s like when you get a new shirt, and ten people tell you how nice you look in it, but one person says “that’s not a good color on you.”  The natural tendency is to forget the compliments and latch on to the one negative comment. Why are we like this?

Illustration of blue t-shirt.

If you have a tendency experience depression and anxiety, latching onto the negative is a habit you must get out of. It’s a habit, which for me, could lead to serious health problems. As I learned in March of this year, too much stress can cause an MS flare-up (relapse). A flare-up can result in permanent nerve damage. I don’t want that to happen.

Here are 10 things I can do to stay positive and mentally healthy.

  1. Stay off of Facebook
  2. Write everyday
  3. Breathe
  4. Make art
  5. Make jewelry
  6. Escape into fiction books
  7. Meditate
  8. Exercise
  9. Experience nature
  10. Eat right

If I look back at my life I can see that everything always works out. I don’t have to worry about some disaster happening because a disaster has never happened. Even my MS diagnosis wasn’t a disaster. The Universe takes care of me. I’ve just got to trust it.

It helps to do the little things to take care of myself like going to Goodwill and buying some jeans to replace the ones with holes in them that I won’t stop wearing. Don’t I deserve to be not dressed in rags? Three of my favorite pairs of shoes have holes in them too, so I need to get those replaced.

Here’s something I made on my iPhone with Sketch Club and Reflection.

Digital drawing of butterfly
Butterfly reflected

Breathing, breathing, breathing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bit of Success

Yesterday evening I sat down and listed a few of my husband’s basketball cards on eBay. I felt so productive! It’s a lot of work. I have to take good pictures of the front and back of each card and crop them in Photoshop. I name the image files and add them to an online collection on Omeka.net as I’m listing them on eBay. The majority of the cards we have don’t go for that much money, but we have sold a couple of expensive ones. Maybe someday we can get a bit of income from sports cards. My Amazon book sales are extremely slow. I would do better it I paid the professional seller fee. To make that worth it I would need a much larger inventory. I don’t have the time or energy to be a real bookseller at the moment.

I’ve wanted to write more blog posts for work. I finished one last week and started another today. My goal is to start acting like a writer. That means I will write more.

In anxiety news, I’ve been listening to an audiobook about dealing with anxiety. It’s called Self-Coaching, Completely Revised and Updated Second Edition: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety and Depression. I just reached the section where he starts talking about the actual self-coaching exercises. I decided to switch to listening to The Girl on the Train for a while. I think I’m going to like it. My anxiety is still with me, but it comes and goes. I’m able to eat, so things have improved.

The two canvases I’m working on look like this now.

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And my interest in making jewelry is coming back.

So basically I’m realy uneasy about the world and my place in it, but I have all of these things that I’m still interested in. Seems like a paradox, but I’m not sure if it is.

Is life a circus?

The prompt I’m working with today is circus. What if I said that my life resembles a three-ring circus? Could I make the case that this was true? I’m not sure if I’ve ever been to an actual circus. I remember going with my parents to the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. If it was the circus that we went to, I don’t remember anything about it.

When I hear someone refer to something as being like a three-ring circus I imagine a lot of different things going on at the same time. That’s kind of the case with my life, but maybe the real circus is in my head.  I think about money, I think about MS, I think about my father’s health, I think about the readings I have to do for class and the paper I have to write. I think about writing and whether I should have used semicolons to separate the items in that list I just made.

I finally made an appointment with the doctor to have my depression medication adjusted. I’m wondering if I should start seeing a psychiatrist instead of relying on my physician for this. I listen to a podcast called ‘Wrestling with Depression‘ in which the virtues of seeing a therapist are often extolled. Do I have time for another regular commitment? I get a little stressed thinking about it.

Yesterday Ernie and I stopped by Planet Fitness to check it out. I asked for a tour and had to give them my name and phone number. I guess that’s how they get you. I liked that they had a lot more equipment than the YMCA does. The thing I don’t like is the constant music and the lack of natural light. It’s a lot cheaper than the Y, so I’m tempted to switch, but it just felt so much like a gym. I’m also considering quitting the Y and just working out at home. That would be the cheapest option of them all.

When I looked up circus on Wikipedia I found some nifty public domain images. Here’s one of them.