Taking Off the Training Wheels

I am happy to say that the last month or so has been going fairly well.  Sure, there have been some slight ups and downs, some blips on the radar…but overall, I am actively coping with my life, with this illness, with the relationship between the two, and with the bigger picture.

I have been in individual talk therapy for over half of my life, or since I was about age 16.  I find therapy to be extremely useful and heaven knows that Goddess of Mindfulness, was around to be a party to most of that.  She was the world’s best therapist, and she probably is still out there, therapizing those in need and playing the magical singing bowls.

I have done further individual therapy at the community mental health center in my town, which I have also found helpful.  Fifteen-plus years of therapy will lead you to a lot of “ah-ha!” moments, and while I don’t think I am necessarily done having those moments, I feel like I need to test my coping skills in this life I am leading, without the direct benefit of individual talk therapy.

After discussing this with my current therapist, The Scribbler (takes vigorous notes), we decided that I would take a one month break from individual sessions.   I will still have expressive therapy, group DBT, and medication appointments weekly — just leaving out the talk therapy for the moment.  To me, this is kind of a test of sorts.

I have a safety net.  I can call her and reschedule for a sooner appointment at any time, but I really feel like maybe I can use the natural supports in my life and the coping skills that come from DBT and really deal with anything the next month is going to throw at me.

I have no doubt I will need therapy again at some point, but I think it is really important that I take this break so I can prove to myself, not to mention anyone else, that I really can deal with issues as they come in a calm and wise-minded fashion.  At least, I think I can *right now*.

Who knows where I will be this time next year, or next Spring, or any of the other times in space when I traditionally crash and burn.  This is my little experiment, and I hope that I can document a good bit of it, so I can come back and look at it later, because that always seems to help.

still becoming

Deconstructing the Structure

I have been going to a mental health group titled “Intermediate Treatment Group” (which means nothing, other than it’s a step below “Intensive Treatment Group,” which I have also attended when the times were rougher).  I  have been going Mon-Wed-Fri for an hour, and it’s an hour’s drive round trip.

I have learned a lot from this group, like how to better manage my time and how to be more productive.  How to set goals.  How to create activities that help to achieve said goals.  I’m at the point where I get it.  I’ve been through the entire manual almost twice, and the teachings have sunk into my otherwise-addled brain.

As of October 28th (I know that by looking back in my blog, which is the main reason I write), I was wanting to continue with group and had decided such.  Now, just eight days later, I think the time has come to finish things up.  I wonder to myself how it is that I’ve come to this conclusion.  I really do feel the group is helpful, but I also feel that I have “reached max benefits,” as they call it.

And that’s what I would call it, as well.  I can gain nothing further by continuing to go to group.  I’ve been through the material more than once and I genuinely have that, “I get it!” feeling.  I have been much more productive, I have been better about structuring my time, and I am reaching out socially (although on an Internet-based level, I still feel it counts).

And that is what they want you to take away from completing group.  I’m there.  I’ve reached the finish line.  I think my therapist will be okay with it.  I recently went from seeing her weekly to seeing her every other week, and that has been a huge relief, because I really don’t care for her, which is another blog in and of itself.

I have a lot to keep me busy.  I have a house to maintain, relationships to keep up, a small but important workweek, and goals I hope to achieve.  And as I learned in group, having goals means you need to have activities to achieve these goals.

My life has been broken into little, easy-to-swallow pieces and there would have been a time in my life where I resented that.  I am more accepting of my limitations now.  I know I will never have a high-powered or high-stress job.  I know that I might always need more support than the average bear.  I consigned myself to a lifetime of medication and pdoc appointments a long time ago, and I realize that I might need a bit of talk therapy here and there throughout the course of my life.

I’m okay with all of that, on most days.  Sure, there are the days where I rage against it all, but those are coming fewer and farther between.  I attribute that to having loving, caring, and, most of all, accepting people around me.  I really feel like I can move on from where I’ve been stuck the last while and do something great.

I don’t know what that “great” thing will be, but you’ll be the first to know when I figure it out.  😀


Busy Week Leads to Minor Meltdown

I have had something going on every day this week, which is highly unusual.  Usually, I will have at least one day where there is nothing scheduled, but this week has been different.  And it’s not until you have a really busy week that you realize how much you need that one day.

My sister’s baby shower is this Saturday and I have been helping QoB amp up for it.  We’ve cleaned house and made party favors, wrapped gifts and listened to a lot of Paul Simon.  I have probably been less-than-stellar  help because I am having problems recently with focusing, but I’d like to think I’m helping in some way, just by following orders and not freaking out.

The freakout came today, starting around 1:00 and still hasn’t quite ended.  My problem is that, when my schedule starts getting busy, I stop doing the things that keep me sane.  Like cleaning my kitchen, keeping the laundry going, blogging, reading, spending time with DSB.  My kitchen being unclean probably drives me the most batty.  And I think that trait is inherited.

I feel like I haven’t been at home at all this week, and have also had a rather upsetting time with my pup developing a huge hot-spot on her  chest.  Then there was the giving her a bath at 11:00pm last night, getting last-minute vet appointment, and generally feeling a lot of guilt for not giving her more baths and not paying better attention.  I feel like crap about it.

And the last two nights I have barely slept.  It’s almost like I drank a pot of coffee before I slipped under the covers.  I’m not sure what the deal is, but all I can do is lay in bed and think of all the things I should and could be doing, or more specifically, the things I should have done during the day that I didn’t.  I am wondering if I’m not having some sort of cycling issue here as of late.  My sleep is messed up, my mood is up and down, I can’t focus, and my thoughts are racing.  About a week ago I was having a lot of problems with anger and irritability but thankfully that has passed.

I think the issue is that, while I have had structure, I also haven’t had much quiet time to regroup.  I’m also anxious about tomorrow’s baby shower, because I don’t see my sister much and I want it to go off well, and there will also be people there that I don’t care to see that I will have to deal with anyway.  Social situations are extremely difficult for me, but it’s not like I’m going to miss the shower because of it.  It is important to her and it is important to QoB, so I will be there and put my happy, polite face on.

I also set really high expectations of myself for NaBloPoMo, and don’t feel like I quite did it justice today, but at least I put something out there.  Better planning for tomorrow, for sure.  Today, I just needed to get this out there.

Figuring Things Out

So after a week’s worth, possibly more, of posts about depression, despair, hatred, anger, misery, so-on-and-so-forth, I’m on an upswing.  For the past two or three days, I have been feeling much more like the “alive” Rose.  I have been doing more, accomplishing more, taking enjoyment in everyday activities, doing things I like to do, and definitely (I think, anyway) being a more enjoyable person to be around.

So what does this all feel like?  Well, it feels like I’ve had a lot of caffeine, but in a good way.  I feel extremely, almost scarily clear and focused.  I feel like I can accomplish tasks that seemed insurmountable just days ago.  I am facing upcoming rainy, Fall weather, and I feel like I’ll get through it without a glitch.

I have had a lot of structure the last two to three days, and I know that helps.  I worked on Saturday and Sunday, and had several things going on today where I was busy all day.  I accomplished a lot at the store and feel really good about the direction the winter season will take for my job.  I will be learning QuickBooks (book-keeping software) and more about Excel, and am quite excited about that.  I am even more excited that, in learning these things, I will be able to help my mom more and I can do the rote work and she can focus on the more complicated tasks.  It boils down to me being the QuickBooks bitch, and I’m okay with that.

I have decided to keep going to group, for now, even though I was thinking of not doing it to save money (it’s about a 30 minute drive from here).  Group has been really helpful for me, and I really do enjoy it, so when I brought up the possibility of quitting with QoB, she suggested to me that I might occasionally be able to afford extra money for gas.  Problem solved!

I don’t know why I hadn’t asked her about it before.  I just keep trying to stretch my weekly money as far as it will go, and know that there are some things that I once considered essential or wouldn’t have batted an eyelash over buying are now just not in the cards.  I have come to accept my more limited budget (I know, it’s been over a year now, but it’s a lot to come to grips with!) and be more creative with my money.  I also get a lot of help from QoB and the Big Dawg, which I couldn’t be more grateful for, and, frankly, would be up shit creek without their assistance.  My dad helps, too, when he can, and that is also appreciated.  Every little bit helps.

I think the key to all of this happiness and clear-headedness and contentment is keeping to a schedule, staying structured, and getting things accomplished.  I know this group I have been doing has done wonders at getting me to achieve goals I didn’t think were possible two months ago, like showering semi-regularly (I know, gross, but huge accomplishment).  It also helps me to have a job, even if it is a bit of a cush job and very low-stress.  I think I need to keep on with the structure, throw in a bit of sunlamp, and I am going to have a very functional, quasi-happy Fall.

And hooray for Ritalin.  Just sayin’.