Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Depression, Mood Swings, and Breakups, oh my!

It's been a fair while since I wrote a blog post. Every time I went to sit down and write, the words just never came out. A lot has happened in that time. This post is about my depression, my break up after a long term relationship, and how I have been managing life after such a devastating event.  My hope is to help anyone out there in a similar situation. Some tips and tricks, if you will.

Depression doesn't stop just because you want it to. 

For a long time, I blamed the break up on myself, my depression, and mental health status. I felt like, perhaps, I didn't "get better" in time to save my relationship.  Now that the grieving period has ended (which, is normal by the way--to grieve the loss of a relationship), I can realize that this simply isn't true. None of it was my fault and none of it was my mental health's fault.

That being said, depression could have taken  hold of me at any time in the aftermath of this break up. We had been together for five years, I had lived with he and his family, or just him, for three out of those five. I was super close to his friends and family. To sum it up= it sucked. Big time. There were times I would cry at the drop of a hat. Other times I became so angry that I felt like punching a wall. I even wrote my ex nasty letters with every intention of sending them to him. I never did, though. I ended up deleting them in order to move on.

In the end, I found that these things didn't ever solve anything. Sure, it felt good to let go in the moment (which is okay to do-to feel what you're feeling, when you're feeling it), but other things seemed to help more. I'll get into that later,

So did depression overtake me? Was my life ruined? Did this event cause me to have some kind of mental break-down? No.

I think the stigma around depression, or any mental illness for that matter, is that you have to walk on egg shells around someone who happens to have a mental health "issue."  For me, it wasn't the case at all. I found that the more I opened up to my sisters and friends about what was going on, the less I felt as though my life was over.

I made time for friends and family, for t.v. shows I had been meaning to watch, books I wanted to read, and so on. Most importantly, I kept being proactive about my mental health. I continued taking my medication and seeing my therapist.

I have to say, my depression has never felt better....That came out wrong. What I mean to say is, although I still have depression, it has never been better managed than it is right now. And I've been through WAY worse than this breakup.

It hasn't all been rainbows and sunshine. Like I said, I was angry and crying and mostly just miserable for a while. I was drinking more than usual, eating crap, and not going to the gym at all. It wasn't something that felt better overnight. Not even close.

A lot of people reading this will probably be thinking, I thought she said her depression didn't overtake her life? This sounds like a depressed person!  Well,duh. I am a person who happens to have depression. My depression has never been black and white and it's never really been the whole "crying and not doing anything"-thing. It's been more a lack of motivation, lethargy, and isolation.

I never stopped being around people. I never stopped trying to get up and out of the house.
Little by little, I got better. I'm still getting better.


I've even *gasp* started dating again.



If you find yourself in the throws of an awful breakup (or another unfortunate life-event), please believe me when I say: It gets better. You will survive.

Here are some things that helped me and may help you.

Books
Get the Guy by Matthew Hussey -It's more than a dating guide. He outlines how to re-gain confidence after a break up, how to be more socially outgoing, and so on.

How To Be A Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Signh -I just got this book and it is amazing. Positive, down to the point, how to take control of things you cannot always control.

The Positivity Kit: Instant Happiness On Every Page -Pretty self-explanatory.

How To Be Happy (Or At Least Less Sad): A Creative Workbook -Again, pretty self-explanatory.


Meal Prep & Exercise

Ever since the break up, I have been meal prepping healthy meals for the week every single Sunday. It relaxes me and is truly fun for me to do. That, and I have healthy food for the entire week and don't have to rush around in the morning before work to pack my lunches! Going to the gym, on the other hand, has always been a struggle for me. To be honest, it still is. However, I manage to make it to the gym about two days a week after work. Three if I'm really on fire that week.

Cardio has been an amazing thing. It helps me get out aggression and any frustrations I may have at the moment. Then, at the end, it releases all of these endorphins that make you literally feel AWESOME. If you don't know what endorphins are, they're basically the feel-good hormone. I always remember this by picturing happy little dolphins swimming around in my brain. I'm weird. You don't need to say it. I already know.


Working

I don't have my dream job at the moment. However, I have been burying myself at work when I am there. I work hard, am nice to my co-workers, and bring up ideas that I think may help my work place. I'm even up for a small promotion, so I know I've been doing something right! Work, at first, was a distraction from being lonely when I would go home at the end of the day. Now, I truly find happiness in knowing I did a good job and accomplished something in my professional life.

Counseling

I've been seeing my therapist for about a year now, even before the break up I was seeing her. Over the last few sessions, she brought up an interesting theory...That somehow I forgot along the way in my social work degree...Until she brought it up...To which a light bulb went off---I digress.

Our subconscious will usually look for traits in a partner that are negative and positive traits from both of our parents. It does this in order to try to make up for the wounds in our child hood and yadda yadda, psychology-jargon.

My subconscious definitely did me dirty in my past relationship. Let me leave it at that.

Being Single Isn't The Worst Thing in the Universe

Going off of my last point, being single allows you to figure out who you are again. What you like about yourself and what you need to work on. It also allows you to reflect on what traits you want in a partner and what traits are definite deal-breakers. Cheesy, yes, but this break up has been an all around learning experience for me.

People

Never stop being around people. I mean, unless you're sleeping or peeing. You know what I'm saying, though. Friends, family, co-workers; they're all great to be around when you're feeling like that's the last thing you want--to be around others. The more your brain tells you to stay home, eat ice cream, and cry...the more you need to go out into the world. Honestly, this was one of the things that helped me the most, I feel. My sisters, friends, and family were amazing.

They let me talk about the break up when I wanted to and didn't force anything. I went bowling, out to sushi, out to bars, even to pot lucks! My point is, even if you're someone who gets slightly anxious in social situations like myself, JUST DO IT. Get out and allow yourself to have fun. You are more than allowed to do this--You deserve it.

Youtubers

I've always been a fan of Youtube. A few years ago, I stumbled onto a SacconeJoly video and was hooked. I watch Youtube to laugh, to feel inspired, to gain even more appreciation for the things I do have, and so much more.  Here are a few (there are way too many to list all of them) Youtubers that helped me through and ones I still watch:

The SacconeJolys -Daily vloggers who document their lives with their children and 6? 7? They have a LOT of cute doggies.

Jenna Marbles -Hilarious. That is all.

Shane Dawson -Conspiracy videos, lighting stuff on fire, and eating weird food, Also hilarious.

The Frey Life -Daily vloggers that take you along their journey of life with cysitic fibrosis.

Melanie Murphy -Anything from beauty to food to mental health. She's awesome,

Lilly Singh -Funny and inspirational and positive vibes.

Whitney Simmons -Meal prep, work out, and lifestyle.

Life brings you things that you don't ask for. Things that you never think are going to happen. Events that you could never have even imagined to prepare for. This is true for negative as well as positive life-matters. I wouldn't say I'm 100% healed from this event, but I keep on going. Every day I feel more and more like myself and every day I am closer to being 100%.

Don't forget to breathe,
--Dana



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Anti-Valentine's Day

Happy Anti-Valentine's day!

I don't think I've ever had a good Valentine's day. It's either been a normal day, like every other day...or it's been an extremely bad day. A day where I spill coffee all over my car, fail a major exam, and get sick. True Story.

Seriously, though. I was walking around a supermarket the other day and was just thinking, why do you need this crap?! Can't you tell someone you love them on ANY day...without ridiculous, meaningless, material objects??

You know what? Enough babbling. Time to do this.

Are you in love? Want to let someone know it? Get a totally necessary, and not hard to drink out of AT ALL, heart-shaped mug for your boo this Valentine's Day!


Why? You're just asking to get gross fur in your chocolate.
Awh, what a compliment. Not really, though. Shit? Really? I should be as fine as Beyonce.

Valentine's Day candy corn? NO. This is just wrong.

This definitely won't break the second you take it out of the gift wrap.

Yep. You need these. They don't objectify whatsoever. CUTE!

Everything must be heart-shaped!

I said everything!

Before the gift.

...And after.

This is how I will be spending my Valentin'es Day:



Monday, December 12, 2016

We broke up.

So....this is only day three but...a five year relationship of mine has ended.
It sucks.
It's painful. So, so painful. I don't think any amount of physical pain could compare right now.
It's confusing.
It's sickening.
It's terrifying.
It's confusing.
I hate it all.

I'm sad.
I'm hurt.
I'm angry. I'm so pissed.
I blame myself. I blame him. I blame our circumstances. I blame the world.

Where do I live now? How do I go on without the person I considered my other half? How will this impact my self-confidence, depression, and anxiety? How could I have been so stupid? How could I have been so complacent? Why couldn't we have fixed it? If only we could have FIXED IT.


I'm trying to focus on the present. To be mindful of what's happening here and now. If I think too far into the future, it paralyzes me, I can't go to a place where I loathe myself because I'm alone and feel unwanted. I know it's happening for a reason. It doesn't make it any less painful. It doesn't help at all.
Not one bit.

I don't know what I'm going to do, where I'm going to go, how I'm going to function in the coming weeks.

There is something to be said for amazing people who stick with you through life moments like these, though. My sisters, family, friends, and even some of his friends...they've all be so extraordinarily caring and considerate. It helps take the edge off ever so very slightly,

Things are going to be messy for a while. Probably a good long while. Eventually, I hope this person and I can be friends. We shared everything together and I would hate to say goodbye to him indefinitely.

Right now I am focusing on work, Christmas, finding a place to live, and not being alone as much as possible. Being alone is the worst right now. It's when my thoughts get the better of me. When I go to dark, depressing places that I don't want to go. Being around people is the best for me right now, even when the pain is so horrible.



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Wow....It's been a while! Update Blog.

Hey, all!
I haven't written in a while....because depression is a real thing and sucks when it comes to writing (at least for me), but I've really missed this!

What's been happening? Well....Trump is president. So there's that.


ANYWAY. Get ready for some rambling.


Ryan and I have moved into our own place together and it's been amazing so far. A lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun as well. We recently ripped up some ugly, bunny-themed wallpaper and it was one of the most satisfying experiences ever.  Last night we put up our very own Christmas tree, even! I don't even care that there's no ornaments on it yet!

My depression has been....well...interesting.

I feel as though it manifests in different ways now than it did before when I was first diagnosed almost 2 years ago. I am back to taking 10mg of Lexipro every day instead of 5mg. It just feels better, honestly. I feel like my depression used to me be not wanting to do anything, sleeping too much, wanting to cry all of the time, lack of motivation, and so on. Now, my depression is more...sneaky. If that makes any sense. I feel as though my motivation levels are a lot higher/a lot more normal. However, I still have certain days where all I want to do is sleep and not see anyone or do anything. I know that's part of depression-that there will be good and bad days-but it doesn't make it any less annoying.

Recently, I feel as though my depression has really effected my confidence levels and how I see myself, actually. Which is a new development. I don't feel confident as much any more and I really hate it. The way I view my body, my intelligence, my goals in life...I have very little self-confidence right now. And again, it's not an every day thing, but it still effects my life every day---if that makes sense?

So what have I decided to do about it? Well. I'm trying to force myself to look in the mirror and say positive affirmations every day. Doesn't mean it happens everyday. I am trying and for me, that's a big deal right now. I'm trying to replace any self-deprecating thoughts about myself with a positive, optimistic one. It's been a struggle but so far I feel it's helping a bit.

What else...Uhm, My sister got engaged. Like what?! I'm so happy for her and her future husband (gah, that's weird). They're so good for one another and treat each other with love and respect and support. So, that's super amazing!

Tomorrow I am hopefully and finally finishing my Christmas shopping. I mean, what do I mean, finally? It's only the third of December. Honestly, finding gifts is a love hate with me. It sort of stresses me out, so the sooner I'm done, the better I feel. And that means there's more time to wrap presents, make gingerbread houses, and do other Christmas-y things!



I've realized I love food shopping. Which is weird, I know, but I do love it. I think part of it has to do with the super market where I live now is not even half the zoo that the one where I used to live is on a daily basis. So food shopping now is a lot easier. I also like to get the sales flyer every week and shop the sales and wow I sound so boring haha. Don't care, this is me, man.  I also try to buy only healthy items or items that can be used in healthy recipes, which makes me happy.

Acupuncture! I'm doing it now! I mean, not right at this very second, but I have been going weekly and I love it! I started going for elbow pain a few months ago and it has been the only thing to help with the joint pain. It's also so amazing how when you have actual health insurance, how much is covered. I literally get to lay on a heated mattress/cloud, get needles poked into me, and nap with whale sounds on for a half an hour.



All in all, not too much has happened since I last blogged.I really do want to get back into writing on here. If nothing else, to challenge my depression and say HAH I TOLD YOU I COULD DO IT! Anyway, I know this was extremely ramble-y and all over the place, but I'm a bit rusty and will try to get better!

Here's to hopefully more blogging! : )
Don't forget to breathe,

--Dana




Friday, April 15, 2016

Fitness Journey: The Struggle is Real

Hey all! Once again it has been forever and a day since I've written a blog post. Lately I've been very much into taking care of myself, inside and out, so I thought I would share a bit of that with you all.

My Advice:

Staying healthy can be a struggle. In a world of super-sized-deep-fried-cheezy-awesomeness...it's hard sometimes. It's hard to find motivation to workout when all you want to do is take a nap or watch Netflix all day or just snuggle with a fur baby (I want a cat so bad). But trust me, once you get up and get going, you will feel so much better about yourself. Yes, working out and eating better will make your body look "better." However, for me, my focus has been on how it makes me feel on the inside. I don't have any real goals in mind for how I want my body to look besides leaning out. Instead, I want to feel stronger, I want to be happier, I want to have my mood more balanced. Those are the goals and the feelings I get after working out that keep me going back.


I think we've all been there. New Year's comes along and everyone wants to get in better shape, eat less junk food, lose weight, and so on. Every single year I was that person. I would stick to my goal for a little while, maybe 2-4 months, and then I would just stop working out or eating healthier. Sound familiar?

What I think has changed for me this time is that I really have made a commitment to myself to do better for myself, inside and out. I've noticed when I work out regularly and try to eat healthier, I feel better prepared to mentally handle my life. My anxiety is less and my depression sees less days as well. I'm better able to cope on days where my anxiety or depression is present as well.

About a week ago, I took my commitment to a whole new level. I joined a gym. WHAT.


If you knew me, this is a huge thing to commit to. Before, I had always thought to myself, "Why pay for a gym membership when you can just work out at home?" And to some extent, I still do believe that you don't need a gym to get into shape. Especially if you're a beginner. There's so much available content now that working out at home really does work for some people.
In my case, working out at home was a good thing...but then I would find myself falling back off the wagon and not staying motivated enough to work out at home. It's easy to make excuses for yourself when you work out at home. Not that excuses don't  happen when you go to the gym, but in my case I feel I have been more motivated to work out now that I go to the gym than when I was just working out at home.

The gym at first can be a very intimidating place for someone who's new. Thankfully, my boyfriend has come with me most times and has showed me how to work a lot of the equipment there. Some of the machines are just super difficult for me to grasp, even with picture-diagrams on the machines, themselves. If you find yourself to feel a little nervous about joining a gym, find a gym buddy to go with you a few times! Also, just remember, everyone in that gym at some point or another was a newbie just like yourself.

Today was my first time going to the gym solo and I have to say I feel rather empowered. I decided I wanted to do cardio, so I did 30 minutes on the elliptical. Boom done. One of the hardest parts of working out is just getting to the gym, yoga mat, etc. Once I'm at the gym or all ready to work out, I'm generally pretty good with getting through a workout. And after working out, I feel so much better and happier and accomplished. Proud.


Supplements:

I'm still learning a whole lot about the world of supplements. Right now I take: Fish oil, B12, C and D3. All of these are taken for a different reason and I may do a different blog post about supplements. For right now, though, I take them to feel better, really. I take fish oil for my skin and because I don't eat fish very often. I take B12 for energy, C for my immune system, and D3 because I'm a vampire. Also, I aim to drink as much water as possible per day. It really helps me sleep better, have more energy, and stay fuller, longer.

Matcha tea:

I'm going on month 4 of not having any coffee. What what. Instead of coffee, I've switched to teas. the main tea I drink now is matcha green tea. Personally, I love coffee. However, my body doesn't respond very well to it. It makes my skin break out, it makes my hormones and mood go all out of whack, and it makes me hit the afternoon slump a more quickly during the day. Matcha is amazing, It tastes good, is pretty cheap, and it's just so much better for my body and mind than coffee ever was. I don't get a caffeine crash like I would with coffee and if you google the health benefits? Oooo. Try it!


Diet: 

Where diet is concerned, I always find that when I eat healthier, or choose better options for myself, I want to workout and vise versa.  I truly do enjoy eating healthier. That isn't to say that I never eat "bad" foods. Of course I do. I still occasionally drink alcohol as well. For me, having a "diet" isn't something that's sustainable. You can tell yourself you'll never eat a cookie again, but how realistic is that? Life happens and food is a part of life. Life is way too short to count calories and worry about eating a slice of pizza with respect to my waistline.

What usually happens is that people restrict their diet: cutting out all carbs, all sugar, all junk food, etc. Then what happens is that once you get a tiny taste of one of those things, you binge and ruin all of your "diet" goals. I know this has happened to me soooo many times. I don't believe in dieting. I don't really believe in cutting out certain foods all together. I believe in eating clean, less processed, foods. Honestly, clean food can taste just as good, if not better than junk. That's why I've included some recipes I love :)


Protein Pancakes:

  • 3/4 Cups of oats
  • 3/4 Cups of Greek yogurt
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Scoop any protein powder
  • Cinnamon to taste/or vanilla extract
  • Any healthy toppings you want! (strawberries, blueberries, dark chocolate chips)
All you do is spray a pan with non-stick cooking spray. Mix all of your ingredients in a bowl, let it sit for about a minute or two. The batter is a bit more runny that traditional pancake batter, so add less batter to the pan at a time so that you don't have a hard time flipping it. Once it bubbles around the edges, you can flip! It tastes a bit drier than a traditional pancake, but if you add fresh fruit on top it really is a beautiful thing.

Herb Chicken:
  • Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless (as many as you want)
  • Paprika, thyme, garlic powder, salt, pepper, parsley= all to taste
All you do is trim any fat on your chicken, butterfly it to make it a lot easier to cook. Then you just put as much spice on it as you'd like. Once this is done, you can cook it any way you'd like. The last time I made it, I used a George Foreman grill and it came out pretty awesome. I usually pair it with rice and veggies or make a chicken wrap with a tortilla. The options are endless!

Eggs:

You can do literally anything to eggs and they'll most of the time still be a healthy option. I am a huge lover of omelettes. You can use any veggies you have in your fridge that are about to go bad or any left overs you may have and chuck it in. If you're worried about cholesterol in eggs, use only the whites. Or you can do half egg whites and half whole eggs.

Green Smoothie:
  • Spinach, large heaping handful
  • Frozen fruit of your choice, handful
  • One banana
  • One serving of Greek yogurt
  • One scoop or half a scoop of protein powder
  • Water, almond milk, or orange juice
  • Matcha tea, one-two table spoons
Chuck it all into a blender with the liquid on the bottom. Blend until smooth and there ya go. You can't even taste the spinach, I swear!
Peanut Butter Banana Toast:


All you do is toast whole wheat bread. Put peanut butter on the bread. Slice up a banana on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon. OH YAS. It's one of my favorite snacks/breakfasts.


More to come on this fitness journey!

Don't forget to breathe!

-Dana


Monday, January 11, 2016

Update: Depression and how to ask for help

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I’ve been busy with life-type-things. I have really missed writing, though. I find it to be a really good outlet to speak about whatever is on my mind at the moment.
 The last post I wrote about how scared I was about asking for help with possible depression. Since asking for help, I have found out that I do, indeed, have depression. I’ve also learned that asking for help was the best thing I could have done for my depression. Now, before I go any further, I am not writing this blog post for sympathy or to complain—none of that. I’m writing this blog post because one in every five people have some type of mental health concern or condition. If this post is read by just one other person who is depressed, anxious, bi-polar….whatever, then it’s served it’s purpose. 

I’m going to write about my experience with this mental health condition. I don’t like labeling it as a “disorder,” although, that’s how you’ll find most mental health conditions described in text books. Labeling something as a “disorder” makes me feel like I’m “abnormal” as if I am “lesser than” someone else who happens to not have a mental health condition or issue. I feel a lot of others out there struggling can relate to that.

So how did I ask for help?

Well, it was terrifying. Keep in mind, I didn’t think I had depression. I just felt like I was losing my mind. I didn’t feel like myself at all anymore. I didn’t know WHO I was anymore. I asked for help by ways of going to a medical professional. If you read my last post, you’ll know all about my Medicaid struggle to find a mental health provider. My experience with the medical professional….well it wasn’t the best. However I feel it’s still important to share because, well, it happens. Some people, even medically trained, highly educated individuals, don’t see depression as a “thing.”

I went to the doctor and told the nurse as she was taking my vitals that I was coming in because I had been feeling depressed. The nurse told me that there was a social worker on staff and that she’d be in to speak with me before the medical provider came in. I breathed a sigh of relief. I had no idea they had social workers at the facility and I thought, “Finally, I can get real help.”
The social worker was extremely nice and just asked me to describe how I was feeling.

 I listed:
  • Exhausted
  • Lethargic
  • Lack of motivation/concentration
  • Aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping too much
  • No interest in anything, even things I used to love doing
  • Just not feeling like myself


She quietly listened and nodded her head periodically as I explained a few personal life-things as to why I thought I could be feeling this way. After a minute she smiled a gentle smile at me and said, “Well, you just named off all of the most common symptoms of depression. If there was a checklist, you just hit all of the points.”

Even though it was scary to finally have a diagnosis for how I had been feeling for so long, it was also such a relief to know what it was. No, I wasn’t crazy. I just happen to be a person who has depression.

Then. The doctor came in. She ruined it. She kept saying that I was pretty and had no reason to be “sad.” And she said it about 25 times. The ONLY reason I stayed was because of that social worker. She set up a session with me for later that week. I strongly believe that had she not come in before the doctor, I would have gotten up and left without any treatment.

Depression isn’t sadness. It’s not something you simply “snap out of.” Depression doesn’t care how educated you are, what you look like, how much money you have, etc. It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain.  Some people are more pre-disposed to it than others.

I am a person who happens to have major depressive disorder, post traumatic response, and generalized anxiety disorder.


What’s happened since?

I go to regular counseling sessions, bi-weekly, with my social worker. It’s very cognitive-behavioral based. It’s just a fancy way of saying “therapy that changes the way you think about stuff.”
In addition to therapy, I was prescribed an anti-depressant. I’ve been on it for about four months now and it has made a huge difference in my depression. I’m slowly starting to feel myself again and semi-normal. I’ve gotten back to doing the things I like to do, seeing people I love to see, being motivated, laughing more.

This isn’t to say that every day is all sunshine and rainbows. It’s not like that at all. Some days I have to struggle through the motions of all that depression brings. The way I liken it to is running uphill underwater. You struggle so much just to move, it's exhausting, but you keep going. Some days I feel like I’m nearly back to square one with this thing and other days I feel like I’ve got this. For the most part, as of right now, I I've got this.

I plan on peridodically making mental-health related posts because it’s important to me to open up a dialogue on this topic. It’s not a big deal to talk about. If someone had a broken leg or the flu, no one would bat an eye in order to say, “feel better soon.” However, when someone has a mental health issue…it’s somehow “unacceptable” in some eyes.

 Options:


If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please remember that there are always options out there. It may not seem like it at times, but there are. Take me as an example. I thought I was never going to get help because of my health insurance and the insane waiting list as well as the lack of mental health services in my area, among other things. Going to the doctor was just the last thing I had to do in order to get help for myself. I had no idea they would offer me on site counseling and I'm so thankful I'm finally talking to a professional.

In other news: Look for more frequent posts in 2016. It’s a new year and I really want to blog again.

I hope this was helpful.

Don’t forget to breathe.


--Dana 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Mindful Friday: Asking For Help Is Hard.



Hey all. I haven't posted in a while just because of lack of time and lack of inspiration. I've generally just felt like crap for the past few months. It wasn't until recently that I realized I don't necessarily have my anxiety under control. If you want to read more about anxiety, I have a post about that here. 
I don't want to go into too much detail about anxiety since I already have on a different post.

This post is about asking for help when you need it, especially when it comes to mental health. I have a degree in social work and a minor in holistic health--I know how important the mind and body connection is.

Yet, I somehow find it difficult to always take care of myself, psychologically/mentally as well as psychically. More than this, coping mechanisms I've used before to manage my anxiety aren't working as well as they used to, if they're even working at all.  I feel as though I've hit a brick wall with my mental health. Normally I would try different coping mechanisms, Google some new ones or maybe even try even harder to stick to things I know that help my anxiety calm down. This time, though, my anxiety just does not give a crap.

A month or so ago I decided to finally make a phone call to a therapist/counselor/social worker. The problem: I HAVE EFFING MEDICAID. There are only three organizations in my area that accept my particular form of Medicaid and all three, I kid you not, have a seven MONTH or more waiting list. And that's just for intake, not even an actual appointment to get down to business.


Today I decided that this just cannot go on. I'm so sick of being happy one day, feeling like myself and optimistic...to another day where I'm exhausted, negative, and just not myself at all. I know right now that I can't see a mental health professional...Even though I'm on all the wait and cancellation lists, it still is going to be months before anything happens in that area.  However, I can speak to a doctor, can't I? Could I?

It's a really terrifying experience for me to go and speak to a doctor about something like anxiety or depression. I've never done that before. I do want to make sure nothing physical is going on, though. Sometimes physical ailments can cause depression or anxiety and I want to rule that out. On top of never going to a doctor for this, I'm not exactly familiar with my doctor. (Cough, cough: I have Medicaid and see a different doctor every time I'm sick). I don't want to be heavily medicated, although maybe medication would help. I wouldn't know since I have never had medication for a mental health issue. I don't know, it's just scary.

 I know it's not true at all, but me admitting that I may need medication for my mental health's well-being...it kind of feels like a defeat. As if my mind is telling me that I can't handle this on my own anymore and that this makes me weak in some sense. Again, I know deep down none of this is true. In fact, deep down I know this is true:

Asking for help is brave. 


I know this more than anything. Even though I'm terrified, and this is a horribly difficult thing for me to do...I'm also extremely brave. I'll toot that horn, yeah I will.

I wanted to post this so that I can look back one day and see how far I've come from this place I am at right now. I also wanted to post this to show that you are not alone. If you are considering speaking to a professional about your mental health, just do it. The more you wait to do it, the more you'll psych yourself out. The more your mental illness will tell you that you're just having a bad day and that tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow may be better, but your mental health issue will still exist on that good day. Trust me. I'm there right now. 

I plan on updating on this blog after I see the doctor and my experience. Again, more to document for myself than anything else. However, if this post helps just one person who reads it, that's fine by me too.

-Don't forget to breathe.
Dana