I’m tired or am I depressed…

I’m tired. If I had a penny for all the times I have said that in my life. I would be able to pay my medical bills. Sometimes I say it when people ask if I’m okay and I don’t want to say I’m depressed. Sometimes I say it because I’m depressed and that makes me feel tired

It is always good to get to know the signs of depression. It’s especially important to know your signs of depression. For me I know that when I find myself saying I’m tired a lot that is a good sign I’m depressed.

I stop and assess myself. Really think about what I am feeling. Am I eating? Am I losing interest in normal things I like to do? Am I sleeping too much or not enough? Is the negative thinking worse then normal?

Once I know if I’m depressed I need to determine which kind of depression it is. Is it situational or chemical? If I know what type it is I will know the best way to handle it.

It may make me sound even crazier then I already am, but I find talking to myself helps when its chemical depression. When it is situational a funny movie or some kind of distraction helps. But with chemical depression there is not much you can do. Talking to myself helps.

What do I say? I remind myself that it is just a depression episode. It won’t last forever. It may feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t. I remind myself I have gone through this before and I was fine. If the thoughts go too dark and I start thinking I want to die (we have all been there) I remind myself that if I kill myself it will hurt the people I love. That it is selfish. It may end my pain, but everyone who loves me will be in pain. Guilt has always been a big motivator for me. (Family stuff I’m working on in therapy)

It’s not easy to do, but I listen to myself more then I listen to other people. I’m really stubborn and get defensive when people try to help me. That might be why I started talking myself down. Those are somethings that help me. What are somethings that help you when you are depressed?

How having cancer has changed me…

A lot of people have asked if having cancer has changed me in anyway. Even my Dad asked . Some people have even told me they have seen a change in me. I think it has and it is common I’m sure. I think some people see it as a near death experince and look at their life or themselves differently. For me it wasn’t about the chance I might die. For me it was a wake up call telling me I’m not doing what I wanted to do with my life.

All my life, even as a small child I have wanted to help people. There were times when I didn’t know how and went with a opportunity when it came along. There were people that would come into my life that I felt needed me and my help. I will be honest helping people is hard. Mostly emotionally. I’m a sensitive person and also have my own issues.

After getting hurt a lot from helping people and things in my own personal life I started to close myself off. I don’t think I noticed it at first. It started with me saying I’m done helping people who won’t help themselves. There was a guy I worked with that had depression and was away from his family. I also had a crush on him. After everything that went down with him and a huge fight with my best friend I was 100% done.

I think it was three years ago I told my therapist/counsler that I was starting to notice I wasn’t feeling empathy or even sympathy anymore. People at work would tell me about this horrible stuff in their lives and I would know how I should feel, but I didn’t feel it. In the past I would cry along with them and feel their pain. Now nothing. I had been seeing counsler for a couple of years at this point and had shared all the pain I had gone through in my life. She told me I had put up walls to keep all the pain out and that included feeling pain for other people.

Not only was I not helping people anymore I couldn’t even feel bad for them. What had become of me. She also told me that is why I’m not in a realtionship and wouldn’t be able to be in one until I fixed it. At the time I was on the fence about if I wanted to fix that. If I don’t get close to people I will be hurt a lot less.

Not to long before I was diagnosed with cancer I started seeing someone new to prescribe my Lithium and other meds. I was telling her my history. Telling her about my life. We went over our time because of it. At the end she looked at me and asked if I ever thought about writing a book about my experinces to help other people going through it or who have loved ones who are. I told her I had tried, but can’t organize my thoughts well. She is the one who suggested this blog.

I started this blog as a first step into getting back to my calling and true love. Helping people. Soon after I found out I had cancer. I truly believe this is a sign I’m getting back on track with what God wants. People keep asking me if I was afraid I was going to die. No, because God would not have put me on this path if he was going to take my life. He put me in a place where I am needed.

The talks I have had with a few people here at the hospital I talked about in one of my other blogs firmly cemented this belief in my mind. A friend I have known since I was 15 said to me a couple of weeks ago that I seem more open. I told him that I’m not putting up walls anymore. I’m going to let people in again. It’s time to stop hiding. There are people out there that need help and I want to try to help in any way I can. I don’t want to hide from pain I want to help people with theirs.

Having cancer has put me back on my path and no matter what horrible things my body has been subjected to I believe it was worth it. I have learned so much about what people in the USA who have illnesses have to go through. I already knew about how people with mental illness are treated. Now I know it’s not just us. Anyone with any type of illness in this country is treated so unfairly. People are sick and could die and the laws in this country don’t help them. The laws help to save big companies money. Charities do the best they can to help, but they are limited.

This is a stessful time for so many reasons. Sometimes it helps to talk especially if the person has gone through it too. I have even picked up a few things that might help. My Dad works in the HR department at the company he works for, so he has helped me a lot with FMLA, short term disability, and insurance issues. I can pass that along to people who aren’t lucky enough to know someone like that. There are a lot of things about the hospital and treatment I’ve learned.

Cancer has given me new tools to add the the ones I already have to help. Everything I have gone through in the last few months sucks, but I can’t bring myself to wish it never happened.

people-helping-people

Life & the crazy things it does….

I’m not sure if this has anything to do with being Bipolar or not. Maybe it is, I don’t know. This is my life right now. For a year now I have been having shortness of breath which has gotten worse. Three months ago I started coughing and I haven’t stopped. I have been to the doctors for both of those things. My doctor sent me to the pulmonologist for the shortness of breath. They said maybe allergies. My doctor was in a really bad car accident, so we never followed up on that. I went to a different doctor when she was out about the cough. That doctor gave me an antibiotic and said if it didn’t work it might be allergies.

On October 22nd two days after my 36th birthday I coughed up blood for the third day in a row. At first it was specks of blood, but this time it was a lot of blood. I took a picture and sent it to my Dad. We tease him all the time that he thinks he is a doctor. I wasn’t really being serious. He freaked out and made me promise to go to the doctor. Since I had the day off anyway I decided to humor him. He thought I had a blood clot in my lung. Over dramatic much.

Neither one of the doctors I normally go to had appointments. I saw a guy I haven’t been to in a while. He makes me feel like a hypochondriac. I told him about the cough and what my crazy Dad thought. We kind of joked about my Dad. He said we take blood to show your Dad it’s not blood clot. We talked about my acid reflux. We both agreed that it might be were the cough and blood is coming from. Awesome, reflux medicine. I have wanted that for a while. Before I left I asked if he wanted to see the picture of the blood. He was like sure why not. I showed him and he ordered a TB test. Also on the safe side a chest x-ray.

I left there feeling pretty good with my acid reflux issue handled. I go get the chest x-ray. The doctor calls just as I’m leaving work, so I miss his call. My lungs look great. Awesome! But he wants me to call him back to discuss something they saw on the x-ray. It was the end of the day so the office was closed. I returned his call after a stressful night. I was at work. Just stepped outside for a quick call. He said I had a chest x-ray two years ago that the radiologist compared to my current one. My heart is significantly larger then it was two years ago. I talked to him more about the things I have been going through for a year. Including chest pain the goes down my left arm lasting two days that I thought was really bad heart burn from garlic.

He has me schedule an appointment for an EKG later that morning. I was fine. I promised my Dad I would let him know what the doctor said, so while I was out there I called him. That is when I broke down. My Dad offered to go with me to the doctor. Then I called my Mom and a coworker was just getting to work. She saw me standing outside crying on the phone with my Mom. She went and let my boss know. I asked a friend/coworker to come outside for minute. She did and then my boss came out too. They both hugged me and I told them what was going on.

My work family is pretty great. They had me go sit in one of the exam rooms to calm down before I went home. A few people came in the check on me. My boss boss came in too. We talked, and she tried to help. It was all very sweet. One of the nurses who is a friend came in when she heard I was upset. She sat down in her way and was like “ok tell me what happened’. In just a few minutes she had me laughing. Abby is great, and we have the same dark sense of humor. She likes to startle me a lot. I keep telling her she is causing damage to my heart every time she does. When I was waiting on the phone for the appointments person and the news hadn’t really hit me yet I was thinking ‘I’m going to tell Abby it is all her fault, and I told her she was doing damage to my heart.’ I told her that and she burst out laughing. Thank God for Abby. She calmed me down enough so I could drive home.

My Dad decided to drive me to the doctor instead of meeting there just in case it was bad news and I couldn’t drive home. My EKG was normal. He had me walk around the office a bunch of times then checked my oxygen. My oxygen levels were great, my breathing not so much. So, we ruled out my lungs being the cause of my shortness of breath. My lungs are getting oxygen just fine. He referred me to get an echocardiogram which is scheduled for November 7th. After that I will go for a consult with a cardiologist.

My boss boss said yesterday that I am handling this so much better. I said yeah I am. What am I suppose to do? Sit and cry at my desk all day? I have a job to do. Life goes on. You put on your work appropriate mask and do your job. I’m still freaking out, but after years of pretending I’m ok I know how fake it. If I can go to school or work when I’m depressed then I can go when I am stressed out of my mind. The thing I’m scared about most is all the medical bills in my future. I’m going to fucking need my job. My mask is hand crafted over many years. First comes the freak out then comes the mask.

In some ways I think being Bipolar has prepared me for so many things I never knew were coming. The strength I have built over my life to fight my own mind has made me strong to fight this too. I have my family. As soon as I found out I went to them. When I was falling apart at work I asked a friend to help me. I had a good cry then I had a good laugh. I am strong enough to get up everyday and keep fighting. It doesn’t matter what I am fighting, I know I have the strength and the support to do it.

strength

Update on getting motivated blog

Yesterday I posted a blog on getting motivated. I told you I had a list of things I needed to get done and really wasn’t feeling it. I just wanted you guys to know after posting the blog I got up and did one of the things on the list. Then later I did another. I didn’t do all of it, but I did do two of those things. That’s two less things I had to do today after work. I am proud of myself. It made me feel good. Did you get motivated to get going? If you didn’t it’s okay. Sometimes just getting out of bed is the biggest challenge. If you did that then be proud.

Getting motivated…

I don’t know about you but sometimes I have a hard time getting motivated to do things. On a day I have to work my motivation is earning money to pay the bills. On weekends or days off it is a lot harder to get up and get going. Like today I promised myself I would clean the house and take the trash out. So far that hasn’t happened. Since the bug guy is coming to spray inside the house Wednesday I’m sure I will be working hard tomorrow after work to get the house clean enough to not be embarrassed. What gets you motivated on days you don’t want to get out of bed?

A couple of weekends ago I has a head cold, but I was still able to go see a movie I really wanted to see. I ran my errands. I got up and got ready with out any problems. Those are the times I feel like a real person. The weekends like this one where I don’t want to leave the house or my bed make me feel like I’m letting someone down. I still haven’t figured out who that person is. Maybe it is me I don’t know. I am trying to not put myself down for it. I work hard during the week. I have social anxiety and work with people a lot. I’m not on anxiety medication. I do it with the tools I learned in therapy. It is hard and exhausting. I have every right to rest and take a break. I shouldn’t beat myself up over it. Everyone has hard days. I’m sure you will have a lot of them. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Don’t let people make you feel bad about it. Celebrate the days you get up and get going. Be proud of that.

I am proud of myself everyday I get up and live my life. There was a time I couldn’t even leave my house. When I was 16 I shut out the world. My friends and family. I don’t do that anymore. That’s not who I am anymore. I’m still scared, but I know I am strong. I have a reminder of that tattooed on my arm. I’m stronger then my illness and so are you. Be proud of even your smallest accomplishments. I had a therapist tell me once it’s not about the giant leaps, it’s about the baby steps.

What motivates you to get up and live your life?IMG_0371